MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
The 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron conducted an agile combat employment exercise (ACE) at Misawa Air Base, Japan, June 28.
The ACE concept challenges Airmen to operate in an austere environment with limited basing, while testing their abilities to quickly and efficiently land, set-up operations, fly, pack and transport themselves at a moment’s notice.
“Most Airmen are used to landing in other bases where there are dorms, dining facilities and working areas already prepared for them,” said Lt. Col. Kevin F. Campbell, the 35th LRS commander. “ACE focuses on self-sufficiency, preparing members for situations where they land somewhere and set-up an operations location on their own.”
He stated the quarterly exercise focuses on building capabilities to a more expert level, and starts slowly by performing no-notice “bag drags,” checking for mobility bag quality, processing members through unit deployment lines and packing shipping containers with a limited number of parts and tools.
“It challenges young mechanics to troubleshoot and problem solve on vehicles similar to ones seen in deployment locations,” said Campbell. “Afterward, they review their decisions and learn from their training experience.”
Airman 1st Class Bradley Bell, a 35th LRS vehicle maintenance technician, said as a newer Airman, he’s still learning his job and knows there are more efficient tools to complete certain jobs but that they won’t always be as accessible in a deployed environment.
“It’s a pain doing things the hard way without our pneumatic tools, but it’s nice we’re learning how to perform our jobs in different ways and becoming more knowledgeable as a whole unit,” said Bell.
Members fortified their mechanical techniques leading up to ACE, but had a chance to refresh on other skillsets not so common among their career.
Campbell coordinated with the 35th Medical Group and the 35th Security Forces Squadron, who took time to create realistic scenarios for the personnel to better enhance their self-aid buddy care (SABC) skills and introduce proper building clearance procedures.
“We practiced issuing training weapons to ourselves, formed up and executed a loose, two-mile formation road march out to Camp Defender,” stated Campbell. “From there, we met up with the 35th SFS personnel to run through building clearance activities.”
He explained that during a previous wing exercise, they faced many ground attack scenarios where simulated enemies infiltrated their work stations, and because they had a selectively-armed force and knew the building layout, the SFS personnel asked LRS Airmen to help clear the location.
“Security forces uses different jargon and specific tactics when it comes clearing areas, so it’s beneficial for our people to know how to properly perform those procedures because if the situation arises again our personnel can know how to react more efficiently,” said Campbell.
After their time with the defenders, logistics members convoyed back to the 35th LRS individual protective equipment section and worked alongside medical experts in responding to unique, crisis-like medical scenarios using their SABC knowledge to thoroughly provide treatment to simulated injured personnel.
“It’s fun for a new Airman, like myself, to do my job with a variety of things like the move, shoot, communicate and SABC tasks incorporated,” said Bell. “It switches up the monotony that comes with day-to-day work.”
Many Airmen like Bell hope for more ACE events in the future, and with their leadership seeing improvement in the Airmen’s capabilities, they plan on adding more, further increasing their expeditionary skillsets to aid in the 35th Fighter Wing’s Indo-Pacific region mission.
“It’s a crawl, walk, run type of introduction and I believe we are almost to the run phase,” said Campbell.
He mentioned the 35th LRS isn’t the only unit adopting the new deployment concept, and continued noting multiple bases in the Pacific Air Forces are training under this new mobilization technique. Later in the year, 35th LRS leadership plans on working with their Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts for future ACE events in order to familiarize themselves with one another and better integrate.
“It’s a new way for us to fight and a new way for us to be more expeditionary, responsive and be able to meet future threats,” Campbell said. “ACE ensures our Airmen are confident in their skills in a combat environment.”