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505th CCW Airmen bolster USAFE operations, Ukraine military and strengthening NATO alliance

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  • 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs

Command-and-control subject matter experts from the 505th Command and Control Wing deployed to the 603rd Air Operations Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The contributions the 505th CCW Airmen made to the 603rd AOC’s mission was instrumental in the strategy and execution of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe operations and bolstered the NATO alliance by strengthening the Ukrainian military.

The 505th CCW Airmen were all volunteers with different skill sets that were uniquely qualified to assist the permanently assigned personnel at the 603rd AOC. The first group arrived just days after the call for help went out and were assigned across all AOC divisions and the air communications squadron.

“The impact the 505th CCW Airmen made was tremendous; they hit the ground running and provided greatly needed relief for our permanently assigned personnel,” said Col. Steve Tittel, 603rd AOC commander. “The 505th CCW volunteered their time and expertise for our sake and provided critical skills that were needed to prepare our AOC and NATO partners for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

For example, those assigned to the Strategy Division helped develop critical concepts of operations to bolster the U.S. contribution to NATO defense along the eastern front. One such plan was rapidly approved and executed, culminating with forward posture of F-35 Lightning II in multiple European locations, and highlighted by U.S. President Joe Biden during his national press conference.

The Airmen assigned to the plans division worked with AOC members and NATO partners to develop a comprehensive airspace and communications plan that accounted for host-nation requirements, security constraints, and ensured the reduction of tactical miscalculations.

“The 505th CCW Airmen jumped immediately into operations and made tremendous impacts to the USAFE mission,” said Lt. Col. Jack Staudt, 505th CCW mission commander.

The team working on the current operations floor ensured all aircraft, ground teams, and leadership were notified when Russia launched its first offensive weapon. In addition, the information, surveillance, and reconnaissance team provided timely updates of the ground situation. Finally, the Airmen assigned to the communications squadron helped maintain 24/7 coverage and kept the thousands of user accounts, multiple networks, and equipment operational despite a nearly 100% increase in network activity.

In addition, the team assisted in integrating the Kessel Run All-Domain Operations Suite, or KRADOS. Operators from the 603rd AOC, 609th AOC, 505th CCW, and subject matter experts from Kessel Run collaborated on employing portions of the KRADOS software and developing tactics for its use. This software enables real-time planning and increases automation in the air tasking cycle. KRADOS is now used daily to deliver the master air attack plan brief to USAFE leadership.

“I am truly impressed and humbled by this team’s accomplishments. Their actions had strategic impacts,” Staudt said.

The mission of the 505th Command and Control Wing is to prepare and enable the joint force to execute war-winning command and control.

“I could not be more proud of this team. These Airmen represent the epitome of our mission,” said Col. Frederick Coleman, 505th CCW commander. “Not only did these Airmen provide critical skills to the European air component, but they will bring their experience back to the 505th, and we’ll use that experience to advance and accelerate C2 training, testing, and TTP [tactics, techniques, and procedures] development.”

“The 505th CCW Airmen participating in the mission were on the front lines of the largest NATO operation since the Cold War. The impact of their mission will leave a lasting impression on operations for years to come,” Staudt said.