HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Validating its ability to deploy on a moment’s notice anywhere in the world and demonstrate air battle management command and control capabilities, the 729th Air Control Squadron recently participated in a mobility exercise called Agile Thunder.
“This exercise, and others like it, force us to prove that we are able to respond to unsure conditions and answer the kinds of problems we would face in the field,” said Capt. Eric Dayhuff, 729th ACS mission systems flight commander.
The exercise was broken into two phases. During phase one, the squadron tested its equipment, then packed and moved it. In the second phase, they built a site and provided command and control for aircraft sorties.
The first phase also tested the installation’s 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron ability to pack and ship equipment. The 75th LRS serves as the “deployment machine” for all of Hill Air Force Base, said Maj. Jon Arceta, 75th LRS commander.
“For this exercise, the goal was to deploy our 729th ACS partners, personnel and cargo as efficient and expeditious as we could, in order to meet the combatant commander’s needs downrange,” Arceta said.
The squadron was inspected on unit mobility procedures, individual deployment readiness and the ability to survive and operate skills in a deployed environment.
“More than just working on our equipment, we are expected to employ it in realistic field conditions in order to make the mission happen,” Dayhuff said. “These types of exercises help highlight where we are strong and where we can improve in the future.”
The 729th ACS is a geographically separated unit of the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The squadron is one of three active-duty air control squadrons in the Air Force and has approximately 400 personnel assigned to the squadron.
Dayhuff said the biggest challenge to any exercise involving hundreds of people and dozens of equipment items is communication.
“This exercise highlighted the flexibility and preserving spirit of our team,” he said. “Despite facing a myriad of challenges, both expected and unexpected, the team found a way to pull together and ultimately meet our critical objectives and build our competency across the board.”