DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
The 354th Fighter Squadron's "Bulldogs" participated in Rally in the Rockies 2021, an Agile Combat Employment focused exercise, put on by the 22nd Air Force at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Sept. 13-17, 2021.
During this exercise, small units of maintainers, pilots and aircraft from the 355th Wing forward deployed to austere and contested regions in the Rocky Mountains in order to exercise dynamic forward adaptive basing capabilities.
“Rally in the Rockies has really been an opportunity for us to practice ACE,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Gary Glojeck, 354th FS commander. “This exercise enabled us to utilize a smaller team while dispersing our forces to and from multiple different locations and allowed us to execute how we would remain survivable in a real-world scenario.”
While operating out of these different environments, the mission was to strengthen aircraft maneuvering abilities, mold multi-capable Airmen, and enhance the command and control portion of attack airpower.
“We always talk about the jets capabilities, the special operations refueling that we do or austere landing zone operations,” said Glojeck. “This time, our team focused on building those small units of agile and aggressive attack leaders that will know how to outthink, outmaneuver and outfight our adversaries in an uncertain and ambiguous fight.”
A key component that showcased the 354th FS’s agility was their ability to maintain the same expeditionary skills with a much smaller, but a more diverse and multi-capable team.
“The unique part about this exercise was how geographically isolated we were from the other locations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jarrad O’Brien, 354th FS DFAB team lead. “Normally we would be given specifics on where to be, when to be there, how much gear to bring and what aircraft we will be operating with, but this time we were only operating with commander’s intent and mission type orders.”
Because of these challenges, 354th FS Airmen were empowered in making difficult decisions, helping build the skill set necessary for the high-end fight.
“We’re teaching our Airmen how to think and not what to think,” said Glojeck. “If they understand what the mission is and why it is important, it enables them to increase their decision speed. This keeps the tactical tempo high, which is what will throw our adversaries off as we continue to maneuver, generate and employ attack airpower.”
The 355th Wing is preparing for the future fight to be contested in every domain and the Bulldogs are continually developing their dynamic and agile forward operating skills. This training gives them an advantage in taking on any adversary that may pose a threat to the U.S. and its allies, no matter how unfamiliar or treacherous the environment may be.