HomeNewsArticle Display

Shooters conduct ACE exercise

Photo of U.S. Airmen working on jet.

A U.S. Senior Airman assigned to the 55th Fighter Generation Squadron drives a bomb loader at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, June 22, 2021. Team Shaw exercised air combat employment capabilities, which challenged Airmen to operate in an environment with limited support and exercised interoperability by transporting equipment with C-130 pilots and crew assigned to the 913th Airlift Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Destani K. Matheny)

Photo of U.S. Airmen marshals aircraft.

An Airman assigned to the 55th Fighter Generation Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, marshals in an F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Vermont Air National Guard base, South Burlington, Vt., June 23, 2021. The F-16s from the 55th Fighter Squadron will fly integrated Offensive Counter Air (OCA) Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions with F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard D. Mekkri)

Photo of U.S. Airmen departing C-130.

Airmen from the 55th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, depart a C-130 at Vermont Air National Guard base, South Burlington, Vt., June 23, 2021. The F-16s from the 55th Fighter Squadron will fly integrated Offensive Counter Air (OCA) Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions with F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard D. Mekkri)

Photo of four F-16s flying.

F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, fly overhead at Vermont Air National Guard base, South Burlington, Vt., June 23, 2021. The F-16s from the 55th Fighter Squadron will fly integrated Offensive Counter Air (OCA) Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions with F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont Air National Guard.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard D. Mekkri)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Airmen assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron and 55th Fighter Generation Squadron worked in conjunction with the 327th Airlift Squadron and 134th FS during an agile combat employment exercise at the Vermont Air National Guard Base, Vermont.

ACE is the operational scheme that requires multi-functional Airmen to maneuver, with a small footprint, to multiple locations while remaining connected to command elements or autonomously if disconnected.

During the week-long event, six F-16 Vipers and MCATs deployed from Shaw via a C-130J to the VTANG Base as part of a “spoke and hub'' model to execute suppression of enemy air defenses training sorties integrated with their F-35A Lightning IIs.

“Multi-capable Airmen teams are required to be proficient in multiple disciplines, so trust in your team is crucial while executing agile operations, ” said Master Sgt. Brian Marchand, 55th FGS weapons maintenance element noncommissioned officer in charge. “We wanted to exhibit our ability to operate out of various locations while improving mission readiness and increasing effectiveness.”

In an effort to further develop MCATs, Airmen from the 55th FGS loaded into the C-130J, forward deployed to establish a mock “spoke,” Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum, New York, conducted rapid crew swaps, in which a pilot flies a sortie, lands, refuels and a new pilot takes command of the same aircraft.

“Deploying an agile force is much easier than maneuvering an entire unit,” said Capt. Garrett Evans, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron director of operations. “It is critical we find ways to employ our workforce in creative ways in order to reduce our overall footprint.”

Exercises such as this allow the 20th Fighter Wing to become a more agile and effective force. Air Force wide, these concepts are employed to improve mobility and functionality, ensuring Airmen are ready to deliver combat Airpower anytime, anywhere.