ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla-- Airmen from the 58th Airlift Squadron supported exercise “Agile Combat Employment (ACE) Reaper” Sept. 9-10, 2021, by providing airlift capabilities for MQ-9 Reaper assets travelling from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The exercise “ACE Reaper” demonstrated overwater training, joint partnership and planning, as well as instructor pilot and instructor sensor operator joint integration.
“This exercise not only enables us to work with different partners, it also gives our Airmen an opportunity to practice skill sets outside of our normal locations by using different types of equipment and coordinating the equipment we need for our operations,” said Lt. Col. Peter McClellan, 97th Air Mobility Wing director of staff.
Throughout September and early October, multiple C-17 Globemaster IIIs from the 97th AMW will continue to support the exercise, which focuses on rapidly mobilizing MQ-9 assets for MQ-9 deployment readiness.
“We really appreciate the support provided by Altus because they were a key enabler in making this a successful exercise for the entire community,” said Lt. Col. Jaime Olivares, 9th Attack Squadron commander. “Without the support of the C-17s it would have been very difficult to accomplish many of the desired learning objectives for this exercise.”
Every 97th AMW mission is driven to teach Airmen and advance air power. Among the learning objectives, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen received training during the exercise by loading, securing and offloading cargo.
“It's important for permanent party Airmen, the instructors and the supporting Airmen to keep their skills up to date so we can practice what we preach and be the most knowledgeable in what our instructors are teaching,” said McClellan.
McClellan added, along with the training focus, the exercise provided an opportunity for AAFB aircrew to use their diverse skillsets to support the missions of other installations.
“We have a capability of strategic airlift,” he said. “We can assist other sister services to expand their capabilities or to test new capabilities, which helps our Air Force and Department of Defense in the missions that we're sent on.”