Integrating to increase combat capabilities

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

A C-130J Super Hercules’ aircrew from the 34th Combat Training Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, flew to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, July 21, 2020 for dynamic wing integration training.

The aircrew was first briefed on the 355th Wing’s Dynamic Wing and how their unit could play into it, then went to execute loading cargo that simulated gear they would potentially bring into a contested and austere environment during wartime. This exercise acted as the first time an Air Mobility Command aircraft has trained with Airmen from Air Combat Command, further innovating training at home to sharpen our competitive edge for the future fight downrange.

“This was the first of many steps in integrating C-130J Super Hercules’ from Little Rock AFB into our dynamic forward adaptive basing operations that we are trying to achieve here in the 355th Wing,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Zachary Peters, 354th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. “The 34th CTS brought a large crew to help us try to solve some of the problems that we have when it comes to the airlift portion of DFAB, which is a key portion to us being flexible and adaptable like we have been tasked to be. This will allow us to be more flexible in what airlift can support our mission and operations.”

The crew included three pilots, several loadmasters and an aerial porter who began looking at how to address and fix problems they may face in a deployed environment as they began building a baseline for the skills and training of all Airmen involved. These skills will be passed on to other units and Airmen across the Air Force as they participate in future exercises.

“Davis-Monthan has taken the lead in recognizing that we are going to have to think differently about how we are going to deploy forces and operate in a near-peer situation,” said Lt. Col. Phillip Newman, 34th CTS commander. “We are figuring out how mobility airlift can play into their mission. It’s not just operating locations or equipment, it’s getting that cross section of Air Force specialties together so we can learn from each other to see what each of us brings to the fight while helping each other grow. When you bring experts like we have at the 34th CTS, they can help navigate that unchartered territory and help write the book on it so we can teach other people these skills as they come through our Green Flag Little Rock exercises.”

Airmen from the 355th Maintenance Group, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 354th Fighter Squadron worked to ensure the successful training and integration of the Little Rock Airmen. This proof of concept integration will allow for the units to become more interoperable in the future, allowing the Air Force and Department of Defense to become a more ready and lethal force.

“Though we only worked with a couple of units at Davis-Monthan, the problem sets and missions that we presented apply to other units across ACC and the joint force,” said Peters. “Airlift plays a huge portion in our mission because as we try to execute DFAB, logistics typically draws us back the most. If we can bring in different logistics assets to give us more range and more options while having them be familiar with and committed to our missions, it is going to give us more flexibility to have more reach to execute our mission.”

The 355th Wing has been charged to execute rescue and attack missions in support of four combatant commanders around the globe daily. This training highlighted how the efforts of Davis-Monthan Airmen are leading the Air Force in developing overall readiness through building interoperability between units, even those in different major commands, to ensure the successful execution of these critical mission sets.

“There’s a real difference when people commit an aircraft and personnel to learning more and getting involved,” said Peters. “That demonstration of commitment from the 34th CTS to the mission set we are trying to accomplish sent a message across the Air Force that this isn’t a problem that is dying out, this is something that we are trying to attack, get after and find solutions to. Their involvement has brought a whole new realm of assets that weren’t previously involved which shows that we are shifting the way we train to a higher level.”

With help from other units, the 355th Wing’s Dynamic Wing continues to address and execute on DFAB and agile combat employment as it aligns with the efforts of senior leaders in the DoD, as well as the national defense strategy. This ensures our ability to deploy anywhere, anytime and provide lethal combat airpower.