Gunfighters at Pacific Iron 21

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Andrea Rozoto
  • 366th Fighter Wing
Gunfighters deployed in July and August for Operation Pacific Iron to develop a lethal, agile and resilient force posture while applying concepts such as; Agile Combat Employment (ACE), Dynamic Force Employment and Multi-capable Airmen.

Airmen aren't given many opportunities to apply these concepts before being deployed, Pacific Iron was a perfect way to put those skills to the test.

“We wanted to build on the same concepts we practiced at Agile Flag,” said Lt. Col. Mark Thompson, 366th Fighter Wing project officer. “The Idea is to pick up an A-Staff, put it in any location, set up and be ready to go in a moment's notice.”

This is where ACE plays a crucial role in generating airpower, anytime, and anywhere with a smaller number of Airmen.

Gunfighters flew 129 sorties from two dislocated locations, Guam and Tinian, in support of Pacific Iron.

“Ten days of sustained aircraft operations at two locations is something we haven't done before, and a big part of that was having successful communication using the MOJO (Move Out, Jump Off),” Thompson said.

The MOJO serves as a mobile terminal to give air operations planners and mission directors a two dimensional view of airborne operations in any environment.

“It gives them the ability to provide command and control of the air war, not just with our aircraft but all aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Kenneth Burrow, 366th Fighter Wing superintendent of C2 operations.

Communication is essential for a successful deployment, aircrew and ground crew need to be able to communicate during flight.

Gunfighters worked and flew alongside other U.S. Air Force units, focusing on air-to-air combat.

“We flew integrated sorties with the 3rd Wing from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and Navy EA-18G Growlers from Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Wash.,” Thompson said.

This training showcased support we received from participating units such as the 644th Combat Communications Squadron from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, who provided network capabilities to service members so they could communicate effectively.

“We were able to determine what Combat Communications are capable of and what each unit would bring to the table during these operations,” Thompson said.

Operations like Pacific Iron are paramount to fortifying the U.S. Air Force’s objective, to fly, fight, and most importantly win.