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Sharks 'ATTACK' surge exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eugene Oliver
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Pilots and maintainers were put to the test during a sortie surge exercise, July 22-26, here.

The 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) and 75th Fighter Squadron (FS) conducted Shark Flag to test their Airmen’s abilities to perform effectively in a high operations simulated-deployed environment.

“Surge is a term used to describe pilots and maintainers generating combat or training sorties at a higher than normal rate,” said Lt. Col Steven Joca, 75th FS commander. “Surge operations can be challenging because both operations (pilots) and maintenance are manned for a defined rate of sustained sortie production. Surge operations exceed that.

“In the case of this Shark Flag, ‘surge’ doesn’t mean just flying more,” Joca added. “The 75th Fighter Squadron planned in advance to work a series of complex ground attack and combat search and rescue scenarios with other Air Force, Army and Marine units.  Those extra sorties generated during this surge provided more repetitions in training as a joint force.” 

Throughout the surge, A-10C Thunderbolt II’s required around the clock maintenance to ensure that every aircraft was ready to fly at a moment’s notice, to maximize capabilities and simulate wartime sortie rates.

 “Sortie surges are important to the 75th AMU because we have a lot of young Airmen that haven’t deployed and have yet to see flying operations at this pace,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Ramsey, 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit lead productions superintendent. “Their positive attitude and eagerness to accomplish the mission drives the ability to adapt to the changing environment. This also gives the more seasoned Airmen a chance to pass on their knowledge and train the younger Airmen to better themselves to perform at a higher standard.”

Maintenance Airmen generated 131 sorties over the four-day surge, thus challenging Airmen’s overall resiliency and ability to perform effectively during high-tempo operations.

“I hope our ATTACK Airmen learn that when we accomplish a sortie surge we show that we are ready for any contingency operation that may arise at any given notice,” said Ramsey. “I hope that they take away from a surge that the pilots are maximizing their efforts to get the training they need to be combat effective in a shorter amount of time. At times, we have to sacrifice a few more hours here or there to better our ATTACK unit and successfully produce the best aircraft in Air Force inventory.”

Due to the high tempo, pilots from the 75th FS completed 152 flying hours, thus improving their lethal capabilities as a team.

“Today’s fight, no matter the theater, requires detailed integration between service components,” Joca said.  “This Shark Flag provided participants with superior quality and quantity of training opportunities during the valuable hours we had this week with our joint partners. In all, a surge like Shark Flag can be strenuous and taxing, but the lessons learned and skills gained can be priceless when it comes to mission success and bringing friendly forces home alive.”