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    Pennsylvania National Guard Airmen Forge New Paths in Exercise Iron Keystone, Paving the Way for Agile Combat Employment

    DAGRE Team Members Participate in Exercise Iron Keystone

    Photo By Senior Airman Diana Snyder | DAGRE team members from the 193rd Special Operations Security Forces Squadron...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Master Sgt. Alexander Farver 

    193rd Special Operations Wing

    FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. - In an unprecedented display of unity and innovation, 150 Airmen hailing from the three Pennsylvania Air National Guard wings converged upon Fort Indiantown Gap for the groundbreaking Exercise Iron Keystone, held from August 3 to 6. This landmark exercise marked the very first joint endeavor among the wings, signaling a powerful commitment to enhance their collective combat prowess.

    "Across our three wings, we have similar units that perform dissimilar missions. We wanted to bring together these units with their unique tactics and insights to see if we could meet a common objective," said exercise planner Lt. Col. Stephen McNamara.

    At the heart of this dynamic exercise lay a paramount objective: to pioneer innovative approaches in executing Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concepts. ACE, a transformative doctrine, empowers Airmen and small units to conduct missions from decentralized locations. This adaptability enables them to align with commander's intent despite minimal guidance and respond effectively to unforeseen variables.

    "We recognize the growing threat China poses to the United States, and their ability to disrupt our capacity to operate from large, centralized locations,” said Col. Edward Fink, 193rd Special Operations Wing commander. “The lessons we're learning in this exercise will increase our survivability and ability to project airpower in a future conflict.”

    Exercise Iron Keystone also aimed to lead the way in tactical innovation; by synchronizing participants with the new Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) model. This model outlines a meticulous 24-month rotational cycle segmented into four distinct phases: prepare, certify, available, and reset. By aligning their goals with the required Mission Essential Tasks (METs) of units entering the commit phase, the participants ensured that their readiness was honed to an exceptional degree.

    "The old ways of waging wars from massive, secure bases have become antiquated, and the Pennsylvania Air National Guard has chosen to lead the charge in refining the ACE and AFFORGEN paradigms,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Regan, Pennsylvania Air National Guard commander. “The lessons distilled from Iron Keystone will resonate throughout the entire force, fortifying our lethality and resilience.”

    As the last echoes of the exercise faded against the backdrop of the Keystone State, it was evident that the Pennsylvania National Guard had etched a new chapter in their storied legacy. Exercise Iron Keystone was not just an assembly of exercises; it was a symphony of innovation, unity, and adaptability that will ensure the three wings of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard can adapt to an ever-changing security environment.



    Date Taken: 09.07.2023
    Date Posted: 09.07.2023 13:12
    Story ID: 452909

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