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​The New York Air National Guard’s 152nd Air Operations Group is facilitating the state Air Guard’s first Virtual Flag training exercise, linking with simulators at sites across the Continental United States and Germany for live, distributed combat training with other Air Force units and Army sites later this month, according to a release. "We are going to have over 100 people from other units across the country participating as well as several units from Germany," said Maj. Kevin Groom, the group’s exercise planner. "Personnel will be getting real-world training in a virtual environment," he added. Simulators will be linked through the Air Force Distributed Mission Operations Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., during the event, which runs Feb. 18-26, states the Feb. 5 release. New York guardsmen will hone their combat management skills running the exercise. The unit, which operates from Hancock Field ANG Base, near Syracuse, plans to conduct Virtual Flags every two to three years.​