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    US, NATO forces showcase tactics, integration during Exercise Astral Knight 2024

    57th Rescue Squadron Airmen Simulates OPFOR

    Photo By Capt. Jacob Murray | A member assigned to the 57th Rescue Squadron sets an ambush while simulating the role...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Jacob Murray 

    86th Airlift Wing

    GDYNIA, Poland — NATO's Exercise Astral Knight 2024 concluded today in Gdynia, demonstrating joint force interoperability and strategic readiness between U.S. forces and NATO Allies. The exercise allowed the incorporation of the Special Warfare Teaming Concept, involving the Second Air Support Operations Squadron from Vilseck, Germany; the 57th Rescue Squadron from Aviano, Italy; and members of Polish Special Forces.

    The exercise emphasized USAFE-AFAFRICA’s commitment to Agile Combat Employment strategies, integrating advanced sensor technology, and refining multinational tactical operations designed to enhance movement, maneuverability, and security across NATO territories.

    Throughout the training in Gdynia, the Special Warfare teams, comprising of Tactical Air Control Party members and Pararescuemen, demonstrated the effectiveness of their combined operations. These operations are aimed at ensuring aircrews and Airmen are well-prepared to deliver lethal combat power and conduct precise recovery operations in contested environments.

    "Our presence here at Astral Knight 24 aimed to refine and test the Special Warfare Teaming strategy,” said Tech. Sgt. Phonchai Hansen, 2 ASOS Flight Chief of Alpha Flight. “By combining our TACP capabilities with the expert medical and recovery skills of the PJs, we've created a dynamic force capable of addressing multifaceted threat scenarios effectively."

    The exercise featured simulated, dynamic targeting missions and personnel recovery drills, during which TACPs and PJs executed coordinated responses to simulated threats. One of the scenarios included a pilot emergency ejection from an F-16 and required immediate extraction from a hostile environment, testing the cohesion and interoperability of the newly formed teams.

    "The integration of TACPs and PJs into a cohesive unit allows us to leverage our respective strengths,” said Capt. John Miller, 2 ASOS Flight Commander of Alpha Flight. “This exercise effectively assessed the current state of Air Force Special Warfare Teaming, allowing us to inform the development of the Special Warfare enterprise."

    This year's Astral Knight also focused on testing and improving joint operational tactics, involving not only U.S. forces but also enhancing cooperation with Polish military units and other NATO partners. The seamless collaboration forged stronger alliances and demonstrated NATO's capability to defend its members against any threat.

    The Special Warfare Teaming Concept not only showcased tactical abilities but also strategic foresight in preparing NATO forces for future challenges.

    "The gives us the ability to operate with our NATO allies in some pretty complex scenarios,” said a PJ participant. “This greatly improves our collective security and ensures we are always ready to respond to threats swiftly and efficiently."

    The lessons learned and relationships built in Gdynia will help future NATO exercises and operations, and further the success of the Special Warfare Teaming Concept -- marking a pivotal advancement in military operations, enhanced cooperative capabilities and strategic deployment readiness across NATO.


    Date Taken: 05.18.2024
    Date Posted: 05.21.2024 08:45
    Story ID: 471836
    Location: GDYNIA, PL

    Web Views: 217
    Downloads: 1