SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Airmen from the 355th Wing participated in exercise Agile Dragon at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 21 – 27, 2021.
100 Airmen from the 357th Fighter Squadron, 357th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and 355th Security Forces Squadron deployed eight U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs to execute agile combat employment principles in simulated real-world scenarios.
“Although this trip is far from the A-10’s full potential to get after ACE, it’s the capstone event of multiple off-station missions in our B-Course syllabus,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joel Bier, 357th FS commander. “Exposing the students to getting away from home station, flying in unfamiliar environments and handling new challenges that don’t always have a black-and-white answer, puts our graduates that much closer to truly austere operations in their initial training.”
With the assistance of the 82nd Fighter Training Wing, the 357th FS generated 27 sorties in just three days despite marginal weather conditions in an unfamiliar operating environment. These sorties supported Air Combat Command training syllabi, as well as close air support for Naval Special Warfare Group 1 in special use airspace set up over Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“The CAS training was a unique opportunity to experience a dense urban operating environment with highly trained and specialized Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the US Navy SEALs,” Bier said. “This training was a great opportunity to get much needed training and build relationships in the Air Education Training Command pipeline, as well as the Naval Special Warfare community.”
In addition to conducting its formal training mission, the 357th FS was able to liaise with multiple AETC units including Undergraduate Pilot Training, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, and A-10 Maintenance and Munitions training students.
By facilitating several capabilities briefs and aircraft tours, the 357th FS and 357th AMU reached hundreds of A-10 maintenance trainees and prospective A-10 student pilots. While the mission was a success in terms of flight training, perhaps its greater impact was building relationships and exposing students to the A-10 mission.
“The 357th FS would like to thank our hosts at the 82nd FTW and 80th FTW for all the help in making this happen,” Bier said. “We look forward to doing it again in the future.”