Exercise Agile Buzzard boosts regional security and coalition operations

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen and F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing rapidly deployed to Decimomannu Air Base, Italy, Jan. 13 -16, for exercise Agile Buzzard.

Agile Buzzard was one of the first exercises to incorporate elements from the developing operational concept known as Agile Combat Employment, or ACE. This concept calls for forces to operate more fluidly in locations with varying levels of capacity and support. This ensures U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa are ready for any potential contingencies. 

“Agile Combat Employment is a fairly new concept,” said Maj. Michael Watts, 510th Fighter Squadron operations supervisor. “We take our aircraft somewhere without all the accommodations of our home station, but are still able to turn around our aircraft and ready them for combat.”

Training exercises like Agile Buzzard enhance the wing’s ability to take command and control of a region, as well as deliver lethal airpower more effectively and efficiently anywhere in the world. Additionally they are designed to enhance partner interoperability, maintain joint readiness, and assure U.S. regional allies.

“This exercise is meant to give us a chance to try this type of operation for the first time at a base other than Aviano,” said Watts. “This is our opportunity to try ACE at a base we don’t have everything we normally have and still be able to execute the mission.”

As part of the exercise, maintainers practiced Integrated Combat Turns, or ICT, in which Airmen refueled and loaded weapon systems onto fighter jets while engines were running. The F-16s later departed to conduct air-to-ground training, and redeployed to the 31st FW at Aviano Air Base.

U.S. Airmen and Italian forces were able to extend their joint operational warfighting capabilities during Agile Buzzard through tactical training, the successful partnership resulting in progressive relationships in regional security and coalition operations.