WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. --
The 137th Special Operations Wing hosted a joint, full mission profile event at Falcon Bomb Range in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, March 20–23, 2017, in order to prepare the Airmen and Soldiers for future deployments.
The event included several multi-part scenarios that involved special tactics Airmen from the U.S. Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron at Louisville Air National Guard Base, Kentucky; U.S. Air Force Reserve F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 457th Fighter Squadron at Carswell Field, Texas; U.S. Air Force T-38 Talons from the 88th Fighter Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas; U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawks from the 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment in Tulsa, Oklahoma; U.S. Air National Guard MC-12Ws from the 137th Special Operations Wing at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City; and aeromedical evacuation Airmen from the 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at WRANGB.
“Downrange, each echelon, unit and branch must rely heavily on the capabilities that the others bring to the fight” said Capt. Christopher Schutte, commander of the 137th Air Support Element, WRANGB. “The whole ‘one team, one fight’ concept is a constant mantra we all have when it comes to the Special Operations Command and Air Force Special Operations Command mindset. The training we set up here was integral to ensuring all the service branch units knew how to link their tactics, techniques and procedures together with ours to alleviate confusion and the unknowns, besides building stronger partnerships within the teams.”
During the event, scenarios included hostage situations, building clearance, infiltration and extraction of personnel to and from simulated deployed environments, combat air support, air-to-ground fire, and patient care and transportation, among others.
“The realistic nature of the event benefits all participants because it drives for a more dynamic scenario with a live replicated enemy force that has a say in the fight versus static or imaginary targets,” said Schutte. “This allows all the ground and air assets to utilize their unique capabilities during the training rather than simulating that particular action.”
All of the scenarios started with the basic framework of ground-to-air communication between a Joint Tactical Air Party Airmen and the involved aircraft. Then, the MC-12s provided surveillance of the area to help build an accurate ground picture as a basis for decisions, and the F-16s provided air-to-ground fire based on the coordination of the JTAC.
Other elements, such as the UH-60s, supplemented the framework by adding helicopter infiltrations and extractions with special tactics Airmen and ground personnel while the 137 AES Airmen simulated stabilization and transportation of wounded service members on the C-130 Hercules trainer at WRANGB.
The 137 ASE shapes the scenarios around the training objectives of each participant and provides the resources and manpower to support each scenario.
“Conducting these realistic joint training events is the closest way we can replicate real world operations,” said Schutte. “The more we integrate and work together, the smoother and more successful our future real-world missions will be.”