CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Yeager Airport will host a larger-scale military exercise next month in conjunction with the West Virginia Air National Guard unit stationed at the airport.
The exercise will mean area residents will likely see military planes flying about the region that are not typical for the area.
Col. John Ryan, vice wing coordinator with the Air National Guard, told the Yeager Airport Board at its meeting yesterday that the 10-day event on July 15-24 will include five Air National Guard Units conducting exercises across the southern part of West Virginia.
Ryan said that the training is important because the region's topography mimics the terrain in Afghanistan, therefore giving service members a glimpse at what they could face overseas.
Visiting guard units include divisions from Baltimore and bases in North Carolina. Elements of the training will be held at Yeager Airport, former mountaintop removal coal mine sites in Mingo and Logan counties and at Beckley.
One of the main goals is low-level navigation, or the operation of aircraft at less than 300 feet. There are rules the military follows that reduce possible impact on neighbors, he said.
Yeager board member Allen Tackett, who is also the retired adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said getting the training to Charleston was the product of several years of planning and coordination.
He said that the training will likely become a regular event, as the local terrain is one of the more unique areas on the East Coast.
"There's going to be a lot of extra activity for years and years to come," Tackett said.