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Air refueling, aircraft maintenance squadrons maintain ACE readiness

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

United States Air Force Airmen assigned to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, improved their agile combat employment abilities (ACE) during Ninth Air Force’s (Air Forces Central) unilateral Joint Air Defense Exercise 22-01 in Southwestern Asia, Feb. 14-18.

During the five-day exercise, Airmen responded to a simulated adversary attack by evacuating minimal personnel, equipment and aircraft to a partner nation within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

For the team operating in this remote location, their goal was to validate an agile force package that would further U.S. – partner nation relations and rapid-response efforts.

“We wanted to show that we can perform, operate and continue air refueling operations from anywhere within our theater regional alliance,” said Capt. Joel Gonzalez, 50th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron weapons officer. “This training validated ACE capabilities and displayed how our multilateral partnerships within the theater are vital to maintaining an active readiness posture.”

Demonstrating command, control and communication proficiencies helped the 50th EARS and 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron confirm the necessary minimal personnel and equipment to support fast and mobile operations for the KC-135 Stratotankers.

“It’s a tactical advantage to have the ability to move our aircraft and people in rapid response,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Larsen, 379th EAMXS crew chief. “This training helped verify what personnel and equipment was needed and proved that [the 379th AEW] has the capability to sustain the mission from any austere location within the region.”

The importance of training at the 379th AEW consistently improves the wing’s position to generate combat airpower to support joint partners and allies anytime, anywhere and at a moment’s notice.

“Preparation is a catalyst for success and as supervisors, we have to make our Airmen aware of how their responsibility plays a role in accomplishing Air Force missions,” Larsen said. “To me, that is the key to setting the team up for success when faced with any future operation and to win tomorrow’s fight.”