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Total Force Integration is thriving in Utah

  • Published
  • By Meagan Hannon
  • 552nd Air Control Wing

The 552nd Air Control Wing is no stranger to Total Force Integration. We see it being practiced throughout the Wing, and its geographically separated units are no exception. At Hill Air Force Base, the Wing’s 729th Air Control Squadron can be found routinely partnering with the Utah Air National Guard’s 109th Air Control Squadron. This integration has proven to be vital to their Battle Management, Command and Control mission accomplishment.

According to the 729 ACS commander, Lt. Col. Andrew Babiarz, the relationship between the two squadrons is mutually beneficial, and is a shining example of Total Force partnerships. Last year’s 729 ACS deployment, and subsequent extension, highlighted the importance of the partnership for airmen in both operations and maintenance.

Babiarz stated, “Due to mission requirements, a large portion of our 729 ACS instructors and evaluators have been deployed, leaving a training gap for in-garrison personnel. Airmen from the 109 ACS helped to fill that gap over the last ten months, ensuring continued combat capability, and the 729 ACS’s ability to meet an extended deployment requirement.”

Whether the 729 ACS “Angry Warriors” travel to the 109th, or the 109th “Warlock” instructors, evaluators, and intelligence professionals make the 30 mile trek to the 729th, this partnership has so far enabled three evaluations, 18 qualification training rides, and 51 continuation training rides. The effort on the operations side also kept critically manned crew positions trained and ready for deployment.

The partnership is more than exercise training, however. The 729 ACS executes an Airman Exchange Program with the 109 ACS for maintenance personnel training. The program consists of active duty airmen spending two weeks working with their ANG counterparts, specifically in the radar work center, expanding the capabilities of both squadrons’ personnel.

This exchange program builds upon the partnership developed by operations personnel and is designed to bolster both units’ training and mission readiness. Airmen from both squadrons share access to limited AN/TPS-75 long-range radar systems for technician and mobilization training.

Over the past ten months, this Total Force team worked together to install a vital antenna transit bolt in order to mobilize a radar system for a 1-week field exercise. Additionally, the 109 ACS radar work center supplied highly proficient technicians to train new airmen who arrived to the 729th, while their experienced airmen were deployed. Thus, alleviating the resource constraints brought about by deployment demands. 

Babiarz went on to say, “The dedication and professionalism of the 109 ACS Warlocks in support of the 729 ACS is a credit to the Utah Guardsmen and their organization. The Angry Warriors look forward to the continued partnership with their fellow Guardsmen.”

The 109 ACS leadership echoed their support of the partnership, stating they too benefit from the collaboration. Maj. Cameron Baker, director of Operations at the 109th stated, “We appreciate the partnership with the 729, and definitely look forward to it continuing in the future.”

Of the partnership, Col. Kenneth Voigt, 552nd Air Control Group commander stated, “The ACG cannot function as well as we do without our Air National Guard counterpart. The Total Force team enables us to rapidly respond to global crisis, adapt to aging equipment, and maintain our standard of excellence. The 729 ACS and 109 ACS personify the Total Force intent.”