• Published
  • By 1st Lt. Ashlyn K. Paulson

The 552nd Air Control Wing and 72nd Air Base Wing collaborated for EXERCISE Agile Thunder 20-03 at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Aug. 4-7.

The exercise evaluates personnel on their ability to prepare and rapidly deploy combat capable forces, generate and deliver combat aircraft to combatant commanders and conduct combat operations in a contested environment.

“This exercise is unique in that we simultaneously tested two weapons systems, in two separate locations, with two different support wings,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Uger, 552nd ACW inspector general , “With multiple units involved, it ensured we were able to communicate and achieve mission objectives despite different time zones, wing requirements and locations.”

The effort includes more than 530 personnel from the 552nd Air Control Wing units at Tinker AFB and the 726th Air Control Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base.  Additionally, 72nd Force Support Squadron, 72nd Security Forces Squadron, 72nd Operations Support Squadron, 72nd Comptrollers Squadron, 72nd Medical Group and 72nd Air Base Wing also participated.

Phase I ran from Aug. 4-7, and focused on a mock Personnel Deployment Function and Cargo Deployment Function.

Preparation skills were tested in Phase I. Units received the notification then had less than one week, to notify personnel, load the needed mission equipment and be wheels up to the exercise location.

Similarly, the 726th ACS had to ensure their ability to sustain equipment and personnel to a deployed Control Reporting Center in a combat theater. This included receiving the order and ensuring the cargo’s ability to travel to a remote location.

The 72nd Logistics Readiness Squadron also played a major role in quality control of personnel and cargo, ensuring both were primed for deployment.

“The 552d has a 65 year history of being the first called to rapidly deploy forward in defense of our nation,”said Col. Alain Poisson, 552nd ACW commander. “Exercises like these are intended to turn our combat wing – host base relationship into a highly tuned machine that will answer the nation’s call without notice.  We can’t do it without our partners.”

The biggest addition to the exercise was that all deployment operations had to encompass current HCPON and coronavirus-19 measures. This includes mask usage, social distancing, single point entry, frequent hand washing and area wipe downs. 

Phase II begins August 10-14.