Article Display

79th ‘Tigers’ leave their mark in first-ever Bamboo Eagle

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Steven Cardo
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

“The nature of war never changes, but the character of war always does,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Klein, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander. “As we look forward, we see the future of warfare includes a multi-domain, disaggregated, high-end conflict and we need to be able to train in a combat representative environment to prepare our warfighters.”

The U.S. Air Force 79th Fighter and Fighter Generation Squadrons tested their ability to train in this new way, forward deploying directly from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to March Air Reserve Base, California, to participate in the first iteration of Bamboo Eagle (BE) alongside sister branches and allied nations Jan. 29- Feb. 2, 2024.

The 79th Fighter Squadron (FS) “Tigers” participated in BE 24-1 to test their ability to quickly assemble light and lean deployment packages, forward deploy and project airpower forward across great distances alongside U.S. and allied forces, putting a premium on global readiness for the future of warfare.

“Bamboo Eagle is a joint exercise practicing [Agile Combat Employment] concepts as we transition into a new kind of fight,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Joshua ‘Pogo’ Holden, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot. “We’re working with multiple different partners simulating being scattered across [multiple operating locations], and from there combining all of our assets and learning how to function together, tactically and logistically.”

The 79th “Tigers” forward deployed to BE 24-1 during what is typically the third week of Red Flag (RF) to participate in an advanced combat representative training exercise. RF 24-1 exercised the tactical build up to the operational exercise of BE 24-1, practicing the agile mobilization of equipment and personnel from one forward operating location to another.

“What we’re here to do is come in light and lean and operate with agility, exercising Agile Combat Employment concepts,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Eric Burgess, 79th Fighter Generation Squadron production superintendent. “We’re coming out here with a small force, working with our [mission operations] counterparts to coordinate our maintenance with their operational efforts to get them out there, training for tomorrow's warfare.”

The 79th Fighter and Fighter Generation Squadrons simulated generating combat airpower from a simulated austere forward operating location with limited equipment and personnel, maximizing force generation while minimizing resource consumption, further developing a sustainable mission ready force.

“We were given a limited number of pallet positions to bring and demonstrate exactly what resources we need to operate and turn aircraft as required,” said Burgess. “We’re also working with contingency response and combat communications teams to establish field communications and network access so we can communicate back to the hub and across the [area of responsibility].”

The 621st Contingency Response Squadron worked to quickly establish and sustain a functioning airfield in the simulated austere environment, aiding in the expansion of control and projection of airpower during the exercise. The Tigers worked with the 52nd Combat Communications Squadron to establish and maintain a secure network of communication, allowing maintenance Airmen and pilots to coordinate training missions clearly and without interruption.

The inaugural exercise challenged U.S. and allied forces to explode into a combat representative training environment with limited personnel and resources, aligning efforts to strengthen interoperable communication and unify command and control across multiple warfighting domains. Participating forces aim to conduct future iterations of Bamboo Eagle to better prepare warfighters for the future of warfare in defense of the United States and its allies.