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Capstone event validates AFCENT ACE capabilities

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, undergo a hot refueling operation performed by Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group and 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Mar. 1, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, undergo a hot refueling operation performed by Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group and 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Mar. 1, 2021. The F-16s received fuel with their engines still running in order to rapidly redeploy back into U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility during the Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone event. The capstone event enhanced theater ACE competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening joint and regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Martin)

A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, undergo refueling operations at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 2, 2021.

A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, undergo refueling operations at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 2, 2021. Integration of sister service airframes allow Al Udeid AB Airmen to hone their skills to be prepared for any mission crucial to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. The MV-22 Osprey participated in the Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone event. The capstone event enhanced theater ACE competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening joint and regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Erwin)

Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron munitions flight load a GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition onto an F-15E Strike Eagle during an integrated combat turn exercise at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Mar. 3, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron munitions flight load a GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition onto an F-15E Strike Eagle during an integrated combat turn exercise at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Mar. 3, 2021. The ICT training allowed Airmen to rehearse the rapid deployment capabilities of aircraft during an agile combat employment capstone event within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire)

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, undergo a hot refueling operation performed by Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group and 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Mar. 1, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, undergo a hot refueling operation performed by Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group and 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Mar. 1, 2021. The F-16s received fuel with their engines still running in order to rapidly redeploy back into U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility during the Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone event. The capstone event enhanced theater ACE competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening joint and regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Erwin)

U.S. Marines prepare to launch an F-35B Lightning II aircraft, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, by conducting a foreign object debris clearance walk at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 3, 2021.

A U.S. Marines prepare to launch an F-35B Lightning II aircraft, assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, by conducting a foreign object debris clearance walk at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, March 3, 2021. The F-35B Lightning II is the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the 5th generation fighter. The F-35B Lightning II participated in the Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone event. The capstone event enhanced theater ACE competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening joint and regional partnerships. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron perform rapid airfield damage repair during a training event March 3, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron perform rapid airfield damage repair during a training event March 3, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The training allows the 379th ECES to implement improved processes to enhance RADR capabilities, ensuring airfield repair can be done as expeditiously as possible after an attack. The RADR training was conducted as part of a larger Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone event. The capstone event enhanced theater ACE competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening joint and regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Greg Erwin)

An E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft sit on the flightline at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, March 1, 2021.

An U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft sit on the flightline at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, March 1, 2021. The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms were at PSAB in advance of participating in an Agile Combat Employment capstone event. The event follows a series of ACE events throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility that enhance theater airpower competencies, validate operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photos by Master Sgt. Wes Wright)

A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft is loaded with cargo at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, during an Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone mission March 3, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft is loaded with cargo at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, during an Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment capstone mission March 3, 2021. The capstone event enhanced theater ACE competencies, validating operational capabilities and command and control while simultaneously strengthening joint and regional partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine Legate)

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, assigned to the 350th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, takes off to go conduct an air refueling mission during a five-day Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment Capstone Event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, March 3, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, assigned to the 350th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, takes off to go conduct an air refueling mission during an Air Forces Central Agile Combat Employment Capstone Event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, March 3, 2021. The event enabled AFCENT to build new partnerships while strengthening existing relationships with regional partners, other components and other agencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

U.S. Air Forces Central conducted an Agile Combat Employment capstone event across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility Feb. 28 through March 5, 2021.

The multi-day event enhanced AFCENT’s combat competencies and integration with joint and regional partners, while also validating operational capabilities and command and control.

“These capabilities are critical to our regional security and stability mission,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander. “This capstone event helped the command validate and build upon the skills we have been honing over the last few months to ensure AFCENT Airmen have the right tools and know-how to execute safe and repeatable ACE elements.”

Units throughout the theater have been preparing for the capstone event through regular ACE training events with other AFCENT, joint and regional partners. Every capability learned and practiced increases the overall effectiveness of ACE capabilities.

“This event takes all of the part-task ACE training we have done the past several months and links them into Air Tasking Order missions executed simultaneously by multiple wings operating out of multiple locations,” said Col. Langdon Root, 609th Air Operations Center Combat Plans Division chief. “This event underscores our ability to swiftly synchronize force movements and project airpower where it is needed.”

ACE is a concept that leverages networks of bases, multi-capable Airmen, pre-positioned equipment and airlift operations to rapidly deploy and maneuver around the globe. AFCENT has been using these principles to conduct missions and train Airmen during recent bomber task force deployments, dynamic force employments, and other exercises featuring hot-pit refueling and integrated combat turn operations.

“ACE is a force multiplier that takes our readiness to new levels,” said Col. Michael Egbalic, 9 AF (AFCENT) Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. “By working closely with partner nations around the theater to integrate these concepts into our everyday operations we stand ready to solve complex and difficult combat challenges potential adversaries may present.”

Working with regional and joint partners during the event enabled AFCENT to further force resolute partnerships between multiple nations, which are critical to current and future missions.

“What we do in theater, and how effective we are, hinges on our ability to forge lasting and resolute partnerships,” Root said. “Especially when it comes to ACE principles, well-integrated combat airpower is a critical component in maintaining regional stability and ensuring a prosperous future.”

The shift to ACE events in AFCENT required Airmen to train in new ways and expand their operational capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of the mission.

“I am amazed by the Airmen in this theater every day,” Guillot said. “This concept requires Airmen to step out of their comfort zones, learn new things and take on new responsibilities. Throughout each of these ACE events, they have executed in extraordinary fashion and have significantly increased the command’s combat effectiveness.”