Sunday, December 28, 2008

Barksdale A-10 unit deploys to Colorado

A-10 unit supported operations during frigid flying conditions.

Shreveport Times

By Tech. Sgt. Andre Menard • Special to The Times • December 28, 2008 2:00 am

Barksdale Air Force Base's 47th Fighter Squadron deployed to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado this month to conduct close air support training with the A-10 Thunderbolts and the 13th Air Support Operational Squadron.

A trio of Barksdale A-10s and 30 personnel supported the Special Ops personnel out of Fort Carson, Colo., in forward air control, updating their currencies while preparing for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Several of the upgraded personnel qualified to serve as ground joint terminal attack controllers, or JTACs, said Lt. Col. James Marks, the squadron's assistant director of operations.

These airmen will forward deploy with Army units and liaison between the Air Force and ground forces needing close air support.

The JTACs from the 13th ASOS took full advantage of the ground support training with the A-10s.

"Usually, we have to pack up all of our gear and go in search of support to maintain our currencies," said Tech. Sgt. John Campbell, a 13th ASOS controller. "So we wanted to give them a show, and perhaps, a reason to come back again."

With the help of Range Control, the JTACs were able to put together urban villages complete with personnel acting as opposition forces who fired off missiles and popped simulated bombs.

Although the JTACs wanted to emphasize old school tactics, using grid referencing points, they also practiced with ROVER, a remotely operated video enhanced receiver, which is an enhancement on the LITENING-AT targeting pods the 917th pioneered use of to transmit real-time video to people on the ground during close-air-support missions.

Marks, a veteran forward air controller and A-10 pilot, was impressed with the enthusiasm of the young troops.

"They had really great scenarios, incorporating ground burst simulators and simulated MANPAD missile launches," he said. "They did a great job of attempting realistic training, incorporating situations that guys are going through right now in Afghanistan."

To Campbell, the training hit close to home.

"I wrote these scenarios while deployed to Afghanistan, with hopes that we could put a great training exercise like this to work," he said. "Even with record-breaking low temperatures in Colorado, the jets were able to complete all but one sortie, which was due to high winds."

Marks scored the deployment as a success.

"The maintainers did an outstanding job with the cold weather, keeping the jets fixed and able to support the training that we deployed for," he said.

"It was a chance to exercise the complete air to ground network of controlling air power, running the whole tactical coordination system from stem to stern and allowing the JTACs to accomplish not only their training, but the training their personnel may be getting also."


See also: JTACs trained with Barksdale A-10s for OEF and OIF

No comments:

Post a Comment