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Liaison officers create blueprint for Agile Combat Employment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dalton Williams, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

Liaison Officers from the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing are the type of Airmen to look at the impossible and ask what exactly it will take to land an aircraft on it. From small deserted island chains with no runway to barren desert locations with no infrastructure, LNOs make a living on solving problems.

Responsible for having to coordinate and assess if a particular location will be suitable for mission capabilities in advance, they’re part of what makes the Air Force agile and effective.

With their unrivaled skill in coordination between countless units, coalition partners, and subject matter experts, as well as assessing the smallest details at the location inside and out, LNOs enable Airmen to project airpower anywhere. This skill ensures mission success for Agile Combat Employment, or ACE, at a moment’s notice.

“In the ACE scheme of maneuver, the USAF is designed to demonstrate airpower anywhere, anytime,” said Capt. Toyre Hudson, 378th AEW LNO and force protection deputy director. “This is where LNOs come in. A critical part to the success of the flying mission is to get your advance team or LNOs on the ground early to allow time to assess the area of operations, circumvent potential issues, and validate capabilities and limitations prior to projecting airpower.”

LNOs recently had a chance to put their skills to the test during Operation Agile Spartan III, demonstrating how Airmen are able to quickly deploy and stand up a functioning air base to a mission capable status.

“For this particular ACE exercise, Prince Sultan Air Base forward deployed five LNOs composed of Force Protection, Contracting, Communications, and Base Operations Support-Integrator roles,” said Hudson. “Their overall purpose was to liaise with Ali Al Salem Air Base’s key personnel to ensure all support requirements were met prior to PSAB fighter jets being forward deployed to the location.”

Liaison Officers observed and documented the exercise throughout, working with each other and subject matter experts to build strategy to continue getting faster and more efficient in the process. The LNO team reached out to Tech. Sgt. Henry Lawler, 378th Expeditionary Communications Squadron Squadron, Communications, Operations and Transmissions section chief, who straddled the line between strategic and tactical for the exercise. His input on communication capabilities required for future missions were written at the same time as he was working on installing two radio systems for F-16CM Fighting Falcon pilots for OAS III.

“This is what I’ve trained for,” Lawler said. “This is why I believe that I'm in the Air Force–to continue working these systems, and challenging ‘what is comm?’ So, it's been a pleasure for me to be down here and to work with fellow Airmen, continuing to train.”

The expertise and knowledge Lawler brought to the team is just one example of Airmen continuing to make us the world’s dominant Air Force.

“This mission is a great example for things to come for not only the U.S., but for our partner nations,” said Capt. Briana Quintana, 378th Air Expeditionary Wing, LNO and A1/6/7/FP project officer. “All of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes and leading up to the mission is finally executed and we can show how we as an Air Force can be agile and effective.”