AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, along with the Qatar Emiri Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps, participated in Sky Shield IV, Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central)’s first major training event of 2022, Jan. 23-25, 2022.
Sky Shield focuses on bilateral defensive counter-air combat patrol, combat search and rescue, offensive strike, aerial command and control, and aerial refueling operations with joint and partner nation assets to include QEAF Rafale, Augusta Westland AW139, and AH-64 Apache; U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), and KC-135 Stratotanker; and U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet.
Al Udeid Airmen played a critical role and got out of their comfort zone to provide support for transient assets taking part in the large operation that included the 380th AEW, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, the 332d AEW, undisclosed location, Southeast Asia, and the 378th AEW, Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, from their respective locations.
“The reason why we are out here is to display our multi-capable Airman functionalities,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Allen, 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron transient alert member. “Training like this benefits the base and, ultimately, the area of responsibility by showing that we can complete any mission with the Airman we have.”
Having agile Airmen who execute the mission no matter the situation is a key component to delivering decisive air power to deter aggressors and ensure the Grand Slam team can fight to win today and in the future.
“This capability allows Airmen to have the required readiness to perform not only their job, but tasks on other missions that they are not normally accustomed to,” said a 332d AEW crew chief. “Learning these different skillsets gives you confidence and allows you to accomplish the mission in multiple areas whenever and whenever needed.”
In addition to improving themselves, Al Udeid Airmen trained with coalition and host nation partners to build upon and strengthen interoperability partnerships.
“The training that we do for Sky Shield allowed us to validate our forward-deployed capabilities, become more dynamic, and create challenges for our adversaries,” said Maj. Dustin Mayes, Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) Qatar air defense liaison. “In the Air Force that we are now, we’re facing extremely complex and dynamic challenges in numerous areas of operations, and the versatility of an Airman is going to be critical to meet those challenges and overcome them.”
Although Al Udeid is a deployed environment, training to maintain and exceed standards doesn’t stop. The Airmen of the 379th AEW are continuously improving upon what they know and can do, bringing mission readiness to new heights.