By Daniel Malta
The Air Force’s Air Combat Command, Fifteenth Air Force and 366th Fighter Wing just completed their bi-annual AGILE FLAG exercise on Mar. 8 in Savannah, Georgia. This exercise focused on the Air Force’s force generation model, which prepares combat-ready “lead wings,” which are tailorable, deployable packages of combat airpower assets and airmen.
According to ACC public affairs, this exercise has evolved over the past year as the Air Force works to align with national defense priorities and new mission readiness requirements as outlined by the 2018 National Defense Strategy. With a changing operational environment, this evolution of training and strategy will ensure the Air Force is ready to engage enemies and respond rapidly to crisis around the world.
“It’s (AGILE FLAG 23-1) implementing the methodology of agile combat deployment. It’s a method that we use to get after adaptive operations in contested environments,” said Maj. Travis Hollin, 15th Air Force A4 Readiness Division Chief. “Fifteenth Air Force, under the direction of ACC, is leading the way to certify AFFORGEN Force Elements.”
During AGILE FLAG, 366th Fighter Wing validated their ability to deploy, employ, sustain forces and execute priority mission essential tasks in a degraded and operationally limited environment.
“For the past 20 years, we have been generating combat air power out of main operating bases or enduring location,” Hollin said. “Now we are shifting gears where we will have to do disaggregated operations. So we’ll have to move into a main operating base, like we’re used to, but then we’ll have to generate forward operating sites and contingency locations to disperse our air power.”
While 366th FW represented the bulk of airmen present for the exercise, there were several other exercise partners, including the 4th Fighter Generation Squadron, which brought six of the Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A, to participate and train in the exercise.
The exercise took place at the Air Dominance Center, which was the simulated main operating base, and Hunter Army Airfield, which was the simulated forward operating site. The forward operating sites, according to Hollin, are capable of sustaining forces and generating combat air power for roughly a month, which includes forward deploying smaller packages to contingency locations.
In support of the exercise, Hunter Army Airfield staff worked around the clock to support airfield operations.
“The installation welcomes training opportunities with all DoD services in preparation for real-time events. The unique training enablers and beauty of coastal Georgia make Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield a premier location for enhancing our nation’s ability to fight and win across the globe,” said Travis Mobley, Hunter Army Airfield Garrison deputy commander.
Overall, there were 10 Air Force units working between the Air Dominance Center and Hunter Army Airfield’s Saber Hall. The exercise lasted nine days and concluded on Mar. 8.