300 military personnel have been isolated on a remote island used for agile combat employment
AVON PARK RANGE, FL – The 920th Rescue Wing evaluated and validated combat applications developed over the past two years during their annual exercise Fury Horizon 22 on Feb. 5.
In a scenario replicating major combat operations in the Indo-Pacific region, 300 military personnel were isolated on a remote island used for Agile Combat Employment (ACE) in the heart of a contested area of interest. An enemy element harassed the personnel and threatened to seize the island and exploit its ACE mission sustainment personnel.
A recovery task force consisting of 64 Guardian Angels, eight HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and five HC-130J Combat King II aircraft was employed to conduct a rescue attack at the incident site.
Central Florida weather proved true to nature in the Pacific as high winds, low cloud cover and rain challenged the wing in planning and executing the mission for the duration some exercice.
“The friction caused by the bad weather provided both challenge and strength to our tactics. We capitalized on the relentless weather and it honed our combat capability. We pushed human and system limits that brought to light previously untested options,” said Col. John Dobbin, 920th RQW Commander.
More than 500 wing personnel participated in the multi-day, multi-location exercise designed to develop, evaluate and validate multi-capable airman warfare tactics, techniques and procedures in sustainment combat, aircraft maintenance and operations.
Designated learning objectives included responding to dynamic threats, following the battle after tactical command, coordinating multidisciplinary fire support in a time-limited planning environment, accountability of personnel in contested movement , casualty care and triage, tactical combat casualty care, extended casualty life support, and casualty transfer from a Tactical Medical Augmentation Team (TMAT) to higher level medical facilities on a base in advanced operations.
TMAT is a new tactic, technique and procedure developed by the Wing’s two Aeromedical Readiness Squadrons (ASTS). ASTS airmen have identified that Guardian Angel pararescuemen often travel great distances on missions and have limited patient care capabilities while in flight.
In a non-linear battlespace or island-hopping environment, keeping specialist teams like a TMAT far forward in the battlespace ensures a greater likelihood of an “on time” response. or” in highly contested areas. The model uses an emergency doctor, intensive care or anesthesiologist, a nurse and a paramedic.
As joint force air component commanders leverage ACE to provide resilient, agile, and survivable power projection, an initial contingency location may be cut to isolate forces. The heavy rescue force can perform large scale reinforcement or extrication of isolated personnel in a contested environment where in previous engagements a trained and ready option did not exist.
Prior to the rescue assault, mission sustainment personnel from the 920th Mission Support Group received partial training in tactical field skills. Airmen conducted field courses in radio procedures, salute reports, troop movements in contested areas, and land orientation/navigation.
After sunset came the establishment of camp security, a meal of ready-to-eat rations, and the setting up of bivouacs scattered across the field. The setting was perfect for continuous training with night vision goggles and nighttime tactical considerations for safety and protection with zero lighting and intense darkness due to cloud cover.
“We were able to integrate an excellent formation of multi-capable airmen with our non-flying units by inserting security forces and mission sustainment personnel overnight to meet the challenge of a large isolated force requiring extraction to prevent exploitation. The rapidly changing elements, such as the weather, provided excellent training for our rescue force,” said Lt. Col. John Lowe, director of Fusion Cell.
Fury Horizon 22 demonstrated the heavy rescue force to be a formidable option for a theater commander and wing mission readiness to plan, direct and conduct military rescue operations and missions to deter competitors and adversaries to exploit isolated personnel.
“Our mission is to prevent competitors from exploiting isolated personnel. While the ultimate goal is to save, we stand ready to fight, reinforce and deny exploitation until extraction is possible,” Col. Dobbin said.
The Horizon wing exercise series takes place throughout the year at the group and wing level. They bring together the combined knowledge of the entire wing to focus their tactics on executing their mission anywhere in the world at any time.