MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan - U.S. Airmen from various units in the 35th Fighter Wing conducted a weeklong Agile Combat Employment (ACE) training exercise at Misawa Air Base, Japan, 6 through 11 Dec.
Six F-16 Fighting Falcons and a crew of 56 Airmen simulated a mock deployment to an “austere” environment on the south ramp of the flightline, opposite to where operations typically occur.
Prior to movement, the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) tested a new cargo deployment function (CDF) process that centralized representatives from all units and their unpacked cargo in one location to collectively pack individual storage units, reducing the CDF timeline and deployment footprint.
“The aim of this new CDF is to eliminate unnecessary travel times while bringing the process closer to those who use it most,” said Capt. Chase Barnes, the 35th FW Inspector General chief of wing plans and programs. “Past exercises have shown that some containers arrive to the CDF with unused space so units worked together to fill those empty spaces, ultimately allowing for more room in the aircraft for equipment or people.”
The training also integrated Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) concepts, which focuses on teaching skill-sets outside of one’s respective career field. For example, during this training a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief taught a 35th LRS Airman how to marshal an F-16.
Utilizing the MCA concept in combination with ACE deployments, the U.S. Air Force can maintain mission capability with fewer deployed Airmen.
“As a 35th LRS Airman, marshalling jets isn’t something we get to do every day,” said Airman Corey Tidwell, a 35th LRS fuels distribution journeyman. “I’m used to being around the jet when it’s off so it was different to be right there with the engines running. It was a great experience and I am very proud to be a part of it all.”
In addition to interweaving career fields, personnel received Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) training from two 35th Medical Group personnel. This training simulated a more realistic approach by using a mannequin with fake blood and injuries to assist in broadening the casualty care knowledge base of Airmen, enabling them to be capable of executing the mission across an expanded spectrum of mission-sets.
TCCC is a new Air Force initiative, which will eventually replace the current Self-Aid Buddy Care training to better prepare personnel to perform potential lifesaving treatment in a variety of challenging environments, whether in contingency or garrison operations.
“ACE is changing the nature of how we approach contingency operations,” Barnes said. “This event is one of our introductions into the concept of ACE and its importance will build upon captured lessons learned and continual execution.”
This concept strengthens our “Fight Tonight” mentality, ensuring the preparation of personnel for no notice contingencies and the capability of Airmen to rapidly deploy and operate out of an austere location.
Airmen observed strict preventative measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection and were able to take full advantage of the opportunity to strengthen ACE capabilities, further ensuring our ability to maintain peace and security in the Indo-Pacific.