News: 726th ACS trains with GAF, US Marines
Story by Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho - A team of 726th Air Control Squadron Airmen ventured far into the Idaho desert to serve as an exercise enemy force for joint terminal attack controllers, pilots and weapons officers Oct. 4, 2013.
Their six-truck convoy functioned as moving targets for U.S. Navy AV8-B Harriers, German Air Force AG-51 Tornadoes and for a team of U.S. Marine 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison JTACs.
The convoys are part of the German Air Force Tornado Fighter Weapons Instructor Course Mission Employment Phase, which began here Sept. 30 and is scheduled to end Oct. 16.
"We're providing target support for Marine Corps JTACs as well as Air Force and German Air Force assets," said Senior Airman James Wilson, 726th ACS, or 'Hard Rock' convoy commander. "JTACs will see us and call us in for ground support, then we'll get strafed or bombed by assets in the air."
Enhancing pilots, weapons officers and JTACs capability enhances combat air power.
"In a real-world scenario, like Afghanistan, our unit enhances the capabilities of the battlefield commander," Marine Capt. Charles Watt, 1st ANGLICO Supporting Arms Liaison Team officer-in-charge. "Mountain Roundup is an excellent opportunity for our SALT to continue its training in preparation for upcoming deployments."
Marines aren't the only ones who benefit from the 726th ACS convoys.
"We're providing target support for Marine Corps JTACs as well as Air Force and German Air Force assets," said Wilson. "We do these once a month as training convoys, which qualifies our drivers on a wide variety of vehicles while simultaneously providing training for JTACs and air assets."
Hard Rock participates in Mountain Roundup every year to provide realistic convoy support to the Germans and other participants.
"This year we're running about 30 convoys to support with accurate ground targeting of moving targets," said Wilson. "This is a unique range where the aircraft can get really low and strafe us."
Even though the scenarios are exercises, Wilson must ensure his team is safe while on the roads and range.
"The big thing out here is bad road conditions, quickly changing weather and snow. We need to make sure we stay properly spaced and safe out here," he said. "Communication is big for us."
Mountain Home Air Force Base maintains emitter sites across almost 7,500-square miles of operational range space, and it's that access to airspace and ranges that allows for realistic, safe training and testing while providing the flexibility to accommodate the complexity of this multinational, multiservice exercise.
The end result to proper training is real-world employment.
Date Posted:10.05.2013 00:50
Location:MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, ID, US
Hometown:BOISE, ID, US
Hometown:CAMP LEJEUNE, NC, US
Hometown:CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US
Hometown:MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, ID, US