MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron conducted their first agile combat employment (ACE) exercise at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 20.
ACE tests Airmen’s ability to demonstrate advanced readiness and forward thinking while responding to unexpected contingency operations. The event afforded Airmen an opportunity to practice and employ the skills required to project combat air power here and across the Indo-Pacific region.
The exercise kicked off with a full unit recall, bag drag and a handful of Airmen performing a mock deployment outprocessing with the 35th LRS unit deployment manager. The remaining 22 Airmen packed an ISU 90, an oversized portable storage unit, with tools and mechanical equipment deemed necessary to service inoperable vehicles.
“The logistical requirements prepared before the exercise helped immensely,” explained Tech. Sgt. Garrett Dicus, the 35th LRS multipurpose maintenance section chief. “There's a tool for every job and narrowing it down to what’s absolutely necessary was not an easy task. As a flight, we consolidated information compiled from previous experience and input from other sections to determine required equipment to achieve our mission on the go.”
Five randomly-selected logistics Airmen fixed three motor vehicles with a variety of mechanical issues in a simulated deployed setting while only utilizing tools from the prepacked storage unit.
“Performing vehicle maintenance to the best of our ability, regardless of location or supplies is crucial for the safety and security of expeditionary team members,” explained 1st Lt. Chase Barnes, the 35th LRS vehicle management flight commander. “If we had to pack up Misawa and move elsewhere tomorrow, we must possess the skills to do so. This exercise prepares our Airmen to continuously support the mission of completing vehicle maintenance while facing space and tool limitations.”
Tech. Sgt. Jamal Goode, the 35th LRS war reserve materiel and rapid airfield damage repair maintenance operation NCO in charge, added why it’s important to conduct training exercises.
“This experience gauged our capability to support the Indo-Pacific region regardless of notification or accessible equipment,” explained Goode. “It not only tested our mental readiness but our physical endurance as well.”
The exercise challenged the Airmen to fix a disabled Humvee, small pickup truck and standard forklift with a variety of mechanical issues.
“Since you’d find those three types of vehicles in a deployed location, having the knowledge and skills to maintain each one is vital,” explained Master Sgt. John Hoffman, the 35th LRS vehicle maintenance chief. “We altered the Humvee to have a throttle position sensory issue while the truck had an air conditioning outage and the forklift suffered a flat tire and faulty engine.”
Airmen weren’t able to use daily conveniences such as consistent electricity, air sources, internet or an overhead cover. They could only access the storage unit housing items such as personal protective equipment, portable tool boxes, standard car jacks, air compressors, hazardous material spill kits, fuses, light bulbs, wiper blades and a generator.
“When in a deployed location, our mechanics must know how to get our vehicles from point A to point B, no matter what,” explained Hoffman. “Limited access to tools and materials posed a challenge, but this training showcases how important thinking outside the box and working as a team are during undesirable situations.”
With innovation being a common theme throughout the exercise, 35th LRS leadership complimented the team’s efforts.
“The mechanics did fantastic today,” expressed Barnes. “Not only were their attitudes great but they completed the task with quality and care. Being the first at Misawa AB to execute this exercise from start to finish was a huge learning feat. I look forward to building upon our Airmen’s vehicle maintenance skills until perfected.”