C-130J Super Hercules aircraft pilots with the 41st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, compete preflight checks prior to taking off during an Agile Combat Employment experiment at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)
C-130J Super Hercules aircraft pilots with the 41st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, compete preflight checks prior to taking off during an Agile Combat Employment experiment at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Mobility Airmen complete Agile Combat Employment experiment

by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka
U.S. Marine Corps

Airmen from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, and Kadena Air Base, Japan, completed an Agile Combat Employment experiment at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan, Feb. 20, 2020.

The training helped develop and improve an Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy F-15 Eagle aircraft, personnel and equipment to austere locations throughout the world in support of Air Force and Combatant Command strategic objectives.

“For the past two decades, C-130 type aircraft have been completing missions in the Middle East and Africa in order for us to remain relevant in potential armed conflicts in the future, we have to be able to adjust with the way our adversaries are adjusting,” said Maj. Michael Mayor, 317th Airlift Wing inspector general. “We have to be able to continuously adjust as we move forward as a military, as we continue to change the way we do business, posture ourselves and continue to evolve with the combat Air Force.”

During the training, three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 317th Airlift Wing from Dyess AFB and 19th Airlift Wing from Little Rock AFB transported personnel and equipment needed to successfully maintain and support flying operations for four F-15 Eagle aircraft. Marines from MCAS Futenma provided fuel support for the aircraft in order to help complete the mission.

“This training helps us become more efficient at moving to various airfields throughout the world, then setting up equipment for other aircraft to land, arm up and launch before anyone is able to identify that we were using that location,” Mayor said.

The Airmen also practiced a hybrid Airmen concept. This helped the Airmen become more well-rounded by learning how to accomplish overarching mission objectives while helping Airmen in other career fields complete their tasks. The concept is designed to minimize the amount of personnel needed to provide support for potential ACE missions.

By using the hybrid Airmen concept during ACE, Airmen were provided with cross utilization training that enabled them to more effectively service the aircraft, perform navigation type functions and provide aircraft security. 
“This has helped us see how we can constantly improve our skill sets for future missions,” said Capt. Lacey Koelling, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer. “This enables us to provide rapid, mobile and agile response force, because we are able to have less personnel while being a full encompassing team.”

The exercise would not have been as successful without maintenance Airmen providing continuous upkeep to ensure the aircraft can fly.

“It’s important for maintainers to think through these fast situations so they can work safely and efficiently so we can move rapidly around the world at a moment’s notice,” Koelling said. “This experiment is showcasing that we can adapt to complete any type of scenario.”

This training enabled C-130J Super Hercules aircrews from Dyess and Little Rock and F-15E aircrews from Kadena to exchange knowledge, help all of the Airmen become a more cohesive team and posture the F-15E members for agile combat employment.

“We bring a lot of logistics experience to the fight, which helps us effectively relocate our forces and equipment when called upon,” Mayor said. “This experiment helped us train and improve Airmen’s skill sets that will enable us to complete any mission that comes our way.”

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