UPDATE: Northern Agility 22-1 M-28 landing delayed to Wednesday

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 10:19 AM EDT
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ALGER COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - If you plan to travel through Highway M-28 in Alger County you may face a detour Wednesday.

Monday through Wednesday this week, the Michigan Air National Guard will host exercise Northern Agility 22-1 at Sawyer International Airport, Hanley Field and at a closed portion of M-28 in Alger County.

The location of M-28 that will close is approximately two miles west of Shingleton.

Due to projected weather conditions, the temporary landing zone on M-28 in Alger County has been postponed to Wednesday. Staging and additional training activities will precede and follow the highway landing as originally planned at Sawyer International Airport.

The exercise, held in partnership with Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan State Police and local agencies will champion Agile Combat Employment. It’s a universal application to U.S. Air Force operations that enables airmen to deliver air power anytime, anywhere to complicate an adversary’s decision-making.

The Negaunee MSP reminds civilians to stay away from this exercise as it takes place. There is a strict need to stay away from the area and none are allowed near the drill. Anyone caught in the area will be subject to arrest.

This progressive readiness event will mark the first time ever in the U.S. that integrated combat turns (ICTs) will be performed during highway-based operations. Northern Agility 22-1 will also integrate innovative technologies through the Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center to prepare Airmen for the future warfight.

“Northern Agility 22-1 is different from previous events because we will implement contested logistics and integrated combat turns on M-28 for a much more complex ACE event,” said Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general and commander of the Michigan Air National Guard. “Michigan is a champion for ACE and we are integrating some very innovative concepts through our Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center to improve our ability to execute multi-capable Airmen concepts and our ability to improve decision speed and accuracy.”

Aircraft participating in Northern Agility 22-1 include the A-10 Thunderbolt II, AFSOC MC-12W, C-145A, C-146A and U-28A crewed by airmen representing active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units. Twelve aircraft will touch down on a closed, 9,000-foot section of a four-lane highway in Alger County.

“This location is not open to the public for their safety, the safety of our citizens, and also the safety of our participants that are on the ground,” emphasized Capt. Andrew Layton of the Michigan Air National Guard 110th Attack Wing.

Maintenance crews will then perform a series of Integrated Combat Turns. Which, enables the quick rearming and refueling of a running jet to reduce the aircrew’s ground time and get them back into the air. The landing zone will be used for six hours on Tuesday, June 28. Staging and additional training activities will precede and follow the highway landing on June 27 and 29 at Sawyer International Airport.

Capt. Layton noted that this will be the second time a military plane lands on a highway in Michigan and the first time in the U.S. that a military aircraft is refueled and serviced on a highway.

“That is historic and really a cool thing that I think the community can be proud of,” Capt. Layton said.

Capt. Layton added that the Air Force and National Guard are doing this to prepare for combat situations away from military bases.

“The fact that we can do it up here in northern Michigan shows us that we can go into an environment away from an existing military base and still maintain the same level of effectiveness,” Capt. Layton said.

MDOT will close M-28 east of Munising from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29. During the closure, eastbound traffic will be detoured on H-58 to H-15 and back to M-28. The route will be reversed for westbound traffic.

There will be no civilian access to the M-28 landing zone during this period. This closure will be posted on MDOT’s travel information website and detour route signs will help guide travelers through the area. Portable message boards will be posted leading up to the date of the closure as well.

Hanley Field, the Alger County airport, will be closed to all civilian air traffic from June 27 - 29. This message will be on the Alger County website and posted as a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) as well. To ensure public safety, there will be no civilian foot traffic allowed on the airport property during this period.

Capt. Layton said none of this would be possible without the support and patriotism of those who live in Upper Michigan, as well as local partners.

For more information please contact the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs office at 517-940-0081 or ng.mi.miarng.list.pao@mail.mil. For additional information about Northern Agility 22-1 visit the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website.

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