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Air Force Featured Stories

332nd AEW demonstrates ACE capabilities during Operation Agile Spartan IV

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rito Smith
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing recently concluded Operation Agile Spartan IV, a capstone event that further validated the 332nd AEW’s use of Agile Combat Employment in practice.

Multiple Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) wings participated in the weeks-long exercise to demonstrate their ability to operate at forward operating locations while concurrently supporting Operation Inherent Resolve missions.

“The 332nd AEW continues to focus on operationalizing ACE and this capstone event provided us the opportunity to demonstrate and develop our capabilities for complex distributed combat operations,” said Col. David Och, 332nd AEW Intelligence, Operations, Plans and Programs director. “The lessons we learned will enhance our proficiency in executing future ACE operations and enable us to be even more capable regional partners.”

The multi-week exercise included many wings and partner nations within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and consisted of rapid dispersal movements of aircraft and personnel, deployment of equipment and logistics capabilities to cluster bases and scenarios designed to both showcase and test the 332nd AEW’s ability to sustain combat power.

All the operational events led back to ACE, a key operating concept for how the U.S. Air Force will fight in a modern, contested environment.

ACE shifts the generation of airpower from large, centralized bases to networks of smaller, dispersed locations, or cluster bases, to increase survivability, complicate adversary planning and gain an advantage.

“Our asymmetric advantage in the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing is our Airmen” said Brig. Gen. R. Ryan Messer, 332nd AEW commander. “We asked a lot of them during OAS IV and they delivered. They translated ACE doctrine into operations, executed mission type orders in coordination with multiple wings and the Combined Air Operations Center within the AOR and integrated flexible and resilient operations with our regional partners. The lessons learned from this capstone event is significant not only for our wing, but also the U.S. Air Force. I couldn’t be prouder of all the Airmen who made this a success.”

The 332nd AEW practiced command and control, generating mission type orders, dispersal and flushing of aircraft, rapid airfield damage repair, forward arming and refueling point training, combat search and rescue and defensive counter air missions all while continuing to provide support to the region through daily Operation Inherent Resolve missions utilizing a variety of weapon systems.

The 332nd has conducted more than a dozen ACE events since an address to the Air Force regarding ACE was made last year. On June 27, 2022, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. said, “We must maintain the high ground, fighting from a position of advantage. Fundamentally changing the way we generate airpower will complicate adversary planning and provide more options for our joint force and coalition commanders. ACE puts the premium on effectiveness in an increasingly challenging threat environment.”