News: Pilots, ground troops train in Boise urban setting
Story by Tech. Sgt. Sarah Pokorney
BOISE, Idaho – The A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots are conducting Urban Close Air Support training over the city of Boise July 16-25. Residents of Boise can expect to hear the aircraft flying near the city and see the troops on the ground in neighborhoods and in the nearby foothills, communicating with the pilots above.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II mission is to provide close air support to ground troops which require constant communication between pilots and ground troops.
These U.S. Air Force ground personnel are known as tactical air control specialists and they play a key role in the teamwork needed to successfully conduct urban combat operations. They look like any normal civilian, with the exception that they are wearing specialized equipment including tactical vests with radios and antennas.
As a key part of the exercise, the ground troops will be calling in simulated airstrikes on ground targets. All exercise combat operations will be simulated and there will be no live ammunition aboard the aircraft. The aircraft will be flying at altitudes between 10,000 and 15,000 feet above ground level and produce less noise than a commercial jet.
The purpose of this training is to hone pilots’ capabilities to conduct combat operations in an urban environment should the 190th Fighter Squadron be mobilized overseas to do so.
While there is no such mobilization currently scheduled, this type of training develops important skills for the pilots who fly this specialized combat aircraft. Since overseas combat operations often require U.S. military personnel to operate in cities, the need for this urban-type training is critical.
“Boise is an outstanding place to train in this crucial skill set, since it has many of the elements we might face if our men and women are called by the president into harm’s way in an overseas urban combat environment,” said Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, Idaho adjutant general. “In the past, Boise residents have been very understanding and gracious hosts, and we will try to minimize any inconvenience for this training cycle.”
This training has been coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Boise Police Department and Boise Mayor’s Office.