Michigan Airmen, Partners Achieve Milestone During Northern Agility

  • Published
  • By Capt. Andrew Layton,
  • Michigan National Guard

ALPENA, Mich. – Less than six weeks after conducting the first highway-based A-10 Thunderbolt II Integrated Combat Turns (ICTs), Airmen from the 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, achieved a milestone for the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment (ACE) doctrine Aug. 8-12, alongside joint and ally partners from the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Michigan Army National Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve during the National Guard Bureau-sponsored exercise Northern Strike 22. 

For five consecutive days, A-10s from the 127th Wing conducted operations from separate locations across the state, including Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Grayling Army Airfield, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, and Battle Creek Executive Airport. This event, known as Northern Agility 22-2 and nested under the broader exercise plan for Northern Strike 22, demonstrates logistics under attack and joint integration in ACE, which is the ability to execute missions quickly in unpredictable ways. The significance of these events was underscored Aug. 11, when Integrated Combat Turns at Alpena CRTC were observed in person by Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. 

“Northern Agility incorporated seamlessly with Northern Strike shows how ACE can be integrated into the joint fight,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, commander of the Michigan Air National Guard. “Northern Strike provides the perfect backdrop for Michigan to continue moving key Air Force doctrines forward as a center of excellence for ACE.”

Throughout the event, A-10 aircraft were fueled and serviced by personnel assigned to Alpena CRTC, Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, Fort Custer Training Center, the 127th Wing, the Florida National Guard’s 1-111th General Support Aviation Battalion, the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 137th Special Operations Wing, and the 471st Marine Wing Support Squadron. U.S. Army Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) were utilized to support fueling, while A-10 maintainers were transported to each operating location aboard CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Michigan and Florida Army National Guard, C-130H aircraft from the 436 Transport Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182d Airlift Wing. Additionally, MC-130H aircraft from the 15th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, participated in training designed to further ACE and Multi-capable Airmen. 

Additionally, The Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center teamed with industry partners during Northern Agility 22-2. They demonstrated numerous technologies for augmented reality to enhance the multi-capable Airman concept, rapid integration of the Command & Control ecosystem, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Advanced Threat Detection and Visualization and other capabilities. 

The Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County, Michigan, is a living laboratory where new ideas and technologies are born, tested, and evaluated for the future war fight. Michigan is also home to the National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC), making the state an engine for testing and innovation across the Department of Defense. 

“This week was a milestone for ACE, conducting what we believe are the first-ever joint ICTs and working with the U.S. Army to get fuel into austere locations utilizing their specialized HEMTT equipment and logistics under attack procedures,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Wyrzykowski, lead operations planner for Northern Agility 22-2. “From our Canadian allies providing airlift support and logistics to our Marine and Army partners delivering and connecting fuel services for our A-10 aircraft, it was a true team effort that made Northern Agility 22-2 a success.”