Gunfighters complete Operation Garrison Forward phase one

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ingold
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Gunfighters train to conduct military operations anywhere, anytime and must be prepared to land and launch aircraft on alternative surfaces.

Aircrew from the 366th Operations Group are executing a two-phase resilient basing operation named Garrison Forward and completed phase one, landing an F-15E Strike Eagle on the taxiway instead of the runway of Mountain Home, Feb 13, 2024.

After the successful landing of an F-15E on Mountain Home’s taxiway, Gunfighter aircrews are preparing to land a Strike Eagle on additional alternate surfaces in the local area, refueling the aircraft and relaunching safely for phase two.

The exercise aim is to expand Gunfighter Airmen capabilities to prepare for worldwide deployment.

“We might not be able to land on the runways and the surfaces that we want during an agile combat employment,” said Lt. Col Nicolas Tsougas, 366th Operations Support Squadron commander. “We are building agile operational tactics to be prepared for any contingency and have this landing in our hip pocket as an emergency option.”

Gunfighter pilots and weapons system officers prepared for the landing in a digital simulator to practice the flights and approaches before the real-world landing.

Tsougas said the landing was very straightforward after all of the preparation for the exercises, reminding him of technical deployment landings.

“We were tasked on deployment to stand up a forward operating location with a small contingency of jets and Airmen and needed to land on a short runway in an austere location,” said Tsougas. “The runway was short, and we landed at night. We have to be ready for challenges like this in different locations.”

The taxiway landing required detailed work from Airmen across Mountain Home to ensure the landing was approved through the correct channels and safe for all involved. Creating a safe landing environment for Gunfighter Strike Eagles served as secondary training.

"Garrison Forward brought together Gunfighters from every group to contribute to a common mission: making the 366th Fighter Wing more agile and survivable in a great power competition," said Col. David Stamps, 366th Operations Group commander. "Doing hard tasks during peacetime operations prepares our warfighters for potential future conflict.

"I'm so proud of the men and women of the 366th Fighter Wing coming together to codify our alternate landing surface operations. We will remain lethal anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance."

The 366th Fighter Wing will continue to develop dynamic training exercises to hone agile skills and prepare to be ready to deploy anywhere, anytime to protect the United States.