Shooters conduct ACE exercise
By Senior Airman Cody Sanders, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 01, 2021
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.