Agile Thunder exercised across the miles

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Woodruff, 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Exercise Agile Thunder 21-02, a tri-wing exercise, concluded March 13 after multiple active duty Airmen successfully completed their training to rapidly deploy, fight and win.

The 552nd Air Control Wing and 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, the 75th ABW and 729th Air Control Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, and the 726th ACS at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, all participated in the exercise that provided opportunities for improvement in working relationships and processes.

According to Capt. Jason Stewart, director of exercises with the 552nd ACW office of Inspector General, AT 21-02 is an exercise built around a scenario that drives the requirements for both the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System and Control and Reporting Center to rapidly deploy to a quickly escalating geopolitical conflict.

All units were tasked simultaneously, requiring ongoing coordination among the 552nd ACW staff, the Operations Group, Maintenance Group and the Air Control Group, which includes the 729th ACS and the 726th ACS.

“Our cooperation and coordination with our host wings is an equally important part of the exercise,” said Stewart. “For AT 21-02 we are working with the 72nd ABW and the 75th ABW, both of which are critical to our ability to get out the door when required.”

AT 21-02 is a phased exercise.

Phase I refers to the portion of the exercise from initial notification of tasking and ends once all the personnel, cargo and the aircraft have departed for their simulated deployed location.

Airmen are evaluated on their ability to provide forces to meet a combatant commander’s requirement and their ability to complete their required training and readiness items as well as their ability to packup the E-3s and CRC for rapid deployment to a combat environment.

Phase II begins when the participants arrive at “Base X” the simulated location.

Participants are being evaluated on their ability to perform their primary jobs in an environment under attack or under the threat of attack.

According to Stewart, the IG and the Wing Inspection Team examine self-aid buddy care procedures, the participants’ ability to react appropriately to scenario injects such as enemy attacks, and unexploded ordinance, and their ability to overcome the leadership challenges associated with a new environment and austere conditions.

“Exercises such as the Agile Thunder series allow us to stress our systems and personnel under controlled conditions with the aim of building better forces to support our varied mission sets,” said Stewart. “The scenarios are designed to practice skills that our wing doesn’t typically get to execute during our normal AEF [Air Expeditionary Force] rotations.”

The exercises serve to sharpen skillsets for everyone from the youngest Airmen to the most seasoned senior non-commissioned officers and commanders.

Exercising an integrated team strengthens partnerships that are crucial in meeting the commands vision to deliver on-demand command and control for American and its allies anywhere in the world.