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Military planes visible in Northeast Wisconsin as part of Northern Lightning training

The 2020 Northern Lightning training is scheduled for Aug. 10-21.
F-35 US Aircraft fighter jet, Photo Date: August 27, 2009  Photo: mashleymorgan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN
F-35 US Aircraft fighter jet, Photo Date: August 27, 2009 Photo: mashleymorgan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN(KOLO)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:08 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Fighter jets will be visible in Northeast Wisconsin this month as members of the military take part in the annual Northern Lightning Counterland training exercise.

The 2020 Northern Lightning training is scheduled for Aug. 10-21.

“This exercise will include potential supersonic travel, within FAA and military guidelines, so people in the military operating area, a 55 by 200 mile space, may hear sonic booms between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm during weekdays,” says Col. Bart Van Roo, exercise director. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as it is a necessary part of preparation for actual combat.”

Units from Wisconsin, California, Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Virginia will participate in Northern Lightning. Training includes 50 planes and 1,000 personnel from the National Guard, Air Force, Army and Navy.

This is how the Wisconsin National Guard describes the training:

“Northern Lightning is a tactical level, joint training exercise replicating today’s air battle space with current and future weapons platforms. A variety of the world’s most advanced aircraft including fifth generation aircraft like the F-35 will participate in the exercise.”

Northern Lightning is an annual event. It will be a little different this year due to COVID-19.

“We’ve had to make some adjustments due to COVID,” says Van Roo. “Though we still have more than 50 aircraft and approximately 1000 personnel participating, far fewer will be staging out of Volk Field in order to mitigate public health risks. Even amid a pandemic the Air National Guard and our active-duty partners stand ready to complete whatever mission our country asks of us.”

People in the following counties will likely see and/or hear the military planes:

Adams, Brown, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Outagamie, Portage, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood.

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