Agile Flag - A Base Appears

  • Published
  • By By Senior Airman Sarah Dowe
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

What would happen if personnel needed to be rapidly deployed to a location where nothing was on the ground except a landing strip?

That is one of the questions that Air Combat Command’s Agile Flag 21-2 experiment sought to answer.

Airmen and Space Force Guardians from multiple bases joined together to execute this challenging task. They displayed agility and effectiveness by establishing the necessary security, logistics, and communications to receive follow-on forces, generate the mission, and project combat power.

The experiment started when the lead wing, 4th Fighter Wing from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, ordered the simulated arrival and securement of Naval Outlying Landing Field Choctaw, Florida, from the exercise’s main operating base at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Then members of the 822nd Base Defense Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and 4th Civil Engineering Squadron, SJAFB, arrived bringing the equipment necessary to sustain the projected Airmen, Guardians and additional supplies.

“We hit the ground running,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Hartt, 4th CES. “Everything was laid out and we set up the tents following the map that we had prior to leaving our home station.”

The team set up enough tents, electricity, lighting, portable restrooms and shower facilities to accommodate 300 Airmen in only two days.

“Our main focus was to give people a place to work and a place to sleep so that when they arrive they are ready to rock and roll on the job,” Hartt said. “Manning was our biggest challenge and second was the weather, it’s hot, it’s humid, which becomes a safety challenge to keep everyone hydrated.”

Airmen from the 51st Combat Communications Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and the 4th Communications Squadron, set up communication equipment to provide the forward operating base with the necessary network and radio access to continue the mission.

“Our overall goal was expediency,” said Staff Sgt. William Leigh, 51st CBCS. “Here at Choctaw we initially set up SATCOM, VHF and HF radio…we had established effective ground to air communications from nothing within an hour and forty-five minutes.”

Airmen and Guardians from many other career fields also came to NOLF Choctaw to take part in the exercise, becoming a fully operating and functional FOB for Agile Flag 21-2.

“A modern, peer-war fight requires a warrior culture, credibility, capacity and high-end capability,” said Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of ACC. “The units that ACC sends forward have to seamlessly plug into their combat-engaged formations and structures. There’s no time for the team forward to acclimate to one another and there’s no time for a combat-engaged CFACC to provide on-the-job training. They must be afforded time to train together as a cohesive team before they’re required to fight together as a cohesive team on the combat frontier.”

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