Squadron sharpens skills during readiness exercise

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 726th Air Control Squadron kicked off "Hardrock 11-02" with a Phase 1 Operational Readiness Exercise, Sept. 6.

Within 60 hours, squadron members had mobilized 83 five-ton tactical vehicles and palletized 792 tons of equipment.

Then six days later 75 Airmen from the squadron kicked off the Phase 2 ORE with a 45-mile roundtrip convoy from MAFB to Grand View, Idaho.

During this exercise, the unit set up defensive fighting positions and conducted operations at the MOAB field training area near the end of Runway 31, simulating a generic austere location they may someday be tasked to go to.

The two-week exercise not only prepared them for their upcoming deployments in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, but also for any contingency in which the unit could be tasked to support from remote field conditions.

During the OREs, unit personnel trained on convoy operations, site prep and sustainment of nearly $15 million in tactical ground radar, radio, satellite communications and power generation equipment. The exercise included vital base defense security training, cantonment and concealment procedures and challenged the Airmen to defend the site and equipment effectively.

This helped facilitate uninterrupted radar and communications for operations crews while they executed 27 air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Aggressor forces and exercise scenarios were used to test, evaluate, teach and prepare Airmen for Control and Reporting Centers operations and maintenance in a tactical environment.

"This type of training is critically important to the unit and allows us to practice our full skill sets that make a CRC such a lethal, self-sustained, vital component of the Theater Air Control System," said Lt. Col. Trent Carpenter, 726th ACS commander. "I am incredibly impressed by the planning our XP personnel put into this exercise, as well as the outstanding execution from both operations and maintenance personnel. We also received great support from the 366th Fighter Wing."

Several base units provided services to make the field exercise a success. The 366th Force Support Squadron dispatched hot meals in the field several days throughout the week. Additionally, members of the 266th Range Squadron volunteered to simulate hostile forces using small arms and tactics to aggress the site.

The 726th ACS "Hardrock," one of only five operational CRCs, provides the air component commander tactical command and control while executing unparalleled battle management to joint and combined air, land and sea power, 24/7.

Additionally, the unit delivers mobile, long-rage, ground-based remote radar and radio capability, allowing the execution of various mission sets to include; battle management surveillance, tactical data link management, and theater air defense.

The "Hardrockers" maintain the combat readiness of more than 330 personnel equipped, trained and poised to defend against all threats in austere locations.