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Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex Airmen take on the challenge of KingFish ACE

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Robert Kingery
  • Air University Public Affairs

A two-day KingFish Agile Combat Employment tabletop exercise was held here Aug. 4-5 to help Maxwell-Gunter Airmen understand the complexities and variables impacting ACE.

Focused on a hypothetical contingency in the Western Pacific within the 2020-2030 timeframe, the game title celebrates the heritage of Tactical Airlift Control Elements. Traditionally, TALCE used the call sign “Kingfish” when successfully opening airfields dating back to Vietnam, while ACE reinforces a future focus as the Air Force codifies the ACE concept. Learning to successfully employ forces within the complex expeditionary environment often takes years of experience.

“The board game is designed to be played differently each time it is played,” said Col. Troy Pierce, the creator of KingFish ACE. “It’s scalable. It can be a large event, two or three days with 60 plus Airmen or small micro games of one day with 48 Airmen.”

KingFish ACE’s design is to accelerate the learning process by providing a fun, challenging, and competitive game worth playing in heritage or planning rooms. Player decisions are generally at the tactical level through informed decisions at the Joint Task Force, Theater, or Combatant Command level.

During the exercise, Airmen teamed up to plan and explore various concepts to overcome system variables while avoiding prescriptive processes to enable maximum creativity and learning.

“Each Airman needs to understand where they fit in and how they fill a critical role,” Pierce said. “Whether they are an aerial porter, maintainer, or a security forces member, they need to understand how potential strategic threats and variables can impact their operations and how they can overcome those challenges.”

KingFish ACE helps Airmen understand these concepts in a way that they can visualize, learn from, and understand the ACE concept in a more tangible fashion. KingFish ACE can set a foundation for hands-on training Airmen receive in a professional military education setting or with their units.

“It forces you to think outside of the box. It pulls you out of your day-to-day regular AFSC duties. It puts you in a place where you have to think and operate with others and know their capabilities as well.” said Master Sgt. Barry Jackson, 187th Fighter Wing client systems technician “It really helps with understanding strategic intent. A lot of times, we just throw around the ACE concept and expect people to understand what we mean. This game really helped solidify understanding by being able to put those concepts into action.”