MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho - The booming sound of freedom once again echoed over the Idaho desert as Bold Tiger F-15E Strike Eagles took to the skies during exercise Mountain Roundup, Oct. 15.
The 391st Fighter Squadron was forbidden to fly during the government shutdown, despite being the host wing for a major, multinational-joint exercise, which kicked-off Sept. 30 and ended Oct. 16.
The base and the 266th Range Squadron control and maintain 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.
A German air force joint terminal attack controller directed air support missions the final day of Mountain Roundup. During the last mission, GAF 1st Lt. Tim Ermisch directed 17 aircraft, and simultaneously controlled eight jets from three different countries, provide close-air support and shows of force.
"Today was the last mission of exercise Mountain Roundup and in this scenario we were fighting a sophisticated enemy and providing air support to eliminate one enemy army tank division headquarters, which was protected by ground-to-air weapons," said Ermisch. "We had to eliminate ground-to-air threats first and then tank plinked."
In Afghanistan's Regional Command-North, there's a large German military contingency working in union with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to employ forces and eliminate threats on the ground. That scenario was exercised during Mountain Roundup.
Realistic training provides the U.S. and partnered warfighters with the combat edge.
Mountain Home has hosted the training since 2004 because the base has the right mix of air space, modern ranges and proficient personnel, which creates the perfect location for this type of combined-joint training.
"The end result of this exercise is a collection of warfighters from multiple nations and branches of services that are significantly more prepared to engage in coalition major combat operations," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Tapan Sen, 366th Fighter Wing Weapons and Tactics Flight commander.
In training for warfare, realism is paramount.
"Everybody brings different capabilities, so the challenge at Mountain Roundup is to determine who the best person is to execute a task," said GAF Maj. Marcel Schlereth, mission employment phase manager.
For the GAF and U.S. Marine 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company JTACs on the ground at Saylor Creek and Juniper Butte bombing ranges, executing tasks was a simultaneous endeavor handled equally among the Marines and airmen.
"During this whole Mountain Roundup exercise, we've been partnering with the Germans and the [Republic of] Singapore air force and all our U.S. joint partners to train as a combined-joint unit aimed at the same objective," said Marine Capt. Erich Lloyd, 1st ANGLICO forward air controller deployed from Camp Pendleton, Calif. "Training with our allies is a very important role for ANGLICO because we're the liaison for coalition partners."
All forces receive vital combat training here and Mountain Roundup served as the final stage for three years of GAF training, accomplished at the GAF Flying Training Center at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
Everyone involved hoped to provide more-integrated and proficient combined-joint forces, and according to commanders from all nations and services, that mission was accomplished, despite flight throttle-backs due to the government shutdown.