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    147th ASOS supports Czech Republic in Ample Strike 2014 through Guard’s State Partnership Program

    147th ASOS supports Czech Republic in Ample Strike 2014 through Guard’s State Partnership Program

    Courtesy Photo | A member of the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron work with his Czech Republic...... read more read more

    NAMEST NAD OSLAVOU, Czech Republic – Joint terminal attack controllers with the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron supported their Czech Republic partners through Ample Strike 2014, Sept. 3-13, 2014, in the Czech Republic.

    During the large, multinational exercise, the Czech Republic was host to about 1,400 JTACs and NATO forward air controllers from 12 NATO nations, with the intent to increase expertise with equipment and exchange knowledge on the procedural terminal attack controller interoperability required to conduct close air support missions that’ll enable the controllers to effectively operate in a coalition environment.

    The JTACs role in Ample Strike was twofold: maintaining their sustained relationship with the Czech Republic through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program by supporting the exercise and to take part in another avenue for training.

    Ample Strike 2014
    Operating in a joint environment is part of the culture for Air Force tactical air control party members or JTACs, as they integrate directly with Army units, contributing their expertise on aircraft and weapons systems to control aircraft and call in close air support attacks from the ground.

    Because of the gravity of their duties, JTACs have to be able to employ and continuously improve the critical skills needed to perform controls and close air support, which the exercise helped facilitate.

    “One of the main tasks of the Alliance Air Headquarters is to achieve the highest efficiency in the interaction of ground and air forces,” said Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa. “This is exactly what exercise Ample Strike 2014 is about and why it places so much emphasis on training FACs in conditions that are close to a possible operational environment. Although we change from combat operations to train and assist in Afghanistan, it is important that we maintain the experience gained.”

    In addition to supporting the exercise, the Houston-based controllers were able to execute close air support missions, while interfacing with their peers – the first time the squadron expanded their engagement to an exercise of this scale through the SPP, said Lt. Col. Nigel Atkins, 147th ASOS commander.

    Participants executed challenging scenarios during the 10-day exercise, which allowed them to hone their skills of coordinating tactical air operations with NATO pilots, to include more than 30 sub-scenarios, 130 actual and 40 simulated control runs guiding aircraft weapons onto targets, and nearly 50 aircraft sorties totaling more than 60 hours of flight time.

    Ample Strike allowed the controllers to utilize the skillsets used to put bombs on target in a combat environment, but it made clear to leaders that those same skillsets can be used in domestic emergency response operations, something the JTACs have performed and exercised with local emergency response agencies in Texas.

    “This capability is crucial, not only for combat operations, but also for other missions like humanitarian ones,” said Gen. Petr Pavel, the chief of the general staff of the armed forces of the Czech Republic. “These missions involve effective CAS, but also different types of evacuation and extraction from danger zones. The role of these specialists is increasingly necessary.”

    State partners
    In today’s military, joint operations and working with coalition forces in warfare or humanitarian missions are becoming the norm, so the ability for all parties to speak the same standard language is critical.

    Understanding this reality, the National Guard facilitates exchanges through the SPP, in which Texas and the Czech Republic have sustained a close, working relationship since 1993.

    For the past several years, the squadron has played an integral role in exchanging information with, training and mentoring their Czech forward air controller counterparts, whether stateside or abroad.

    The program pairs a state’s National Guard with a partner country to support broad national interests and international security cooperation goals.

    For more information on the squadron or being a TACP at Ellington Field, call 832-632-1387 or 800-864-6264.



    Date Taken: 10.04.2014
    Date Posted: 10.07.2014 15:10
    Story ID: 144519
    Location: HOUSTON, TX, US 

    Web Views: 496
    Downloads: 1