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It takes a village to perfect ACE

Airmen finish unloading cargo.

Airmen with the Missouri Air National Guard finish unloading cargo during the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. The Airmen unloaded munitions trucks, tool kits, and additional gear necessary to the operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

An Airman preps and aircraft.

A Missouri Air National Guard Airman preps a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules for an Agile Combat Employment exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. Along with the 633rd Air Base Wing, 1st Fighter Wing and 192nd Wing, the Missouri Air National Guard helped to transport equipment and crew members to Wallops Island, Virginia for the ACE exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock

An Airman instructs another Airman during training.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tom Dodd, 27th Fighter Squadron Weapons team chief, instructs Airman 1st Class Jackson Adelberg, 27th Fighter Squadron weapons technician, during the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14 , 2021. ACE enhances asset capability between the C-130 Hercules and F-22 Raptor by utilizing the C-130’s ability to deliver cargo in simulated remote environments, allowing the weapons teams to quickly and safely unload gear, mount weapons and return the jet to the fight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

Airmen board an aircraft to take them to conduct an exercise.

Airmen of the 1st Fighter Wing board a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules to depart for an Agile Combat Employment exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. Members from the 633rd Air Base Wing, 1st FW, 192nd Wing, and Missouri Air National Guard completed a week-long exercise to help shape future ACE procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

An Airman conducts pre-flight checks.

A Missouri Air National Guard Airman conducts pre-flight checks for a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules for an Agile Combat Employment exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. The Missouri Air National Guard provided two U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft to be used during the ACE exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

Airmen load a missile onto an aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jackson Adelberg, 27th Fighter Squadron weapons technician, and Tech. Sgt. Max Guerra, 192nd Fighter Wing weapons team chief, position a missile for loading on an F-22 during the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. The internal main weapon bays of the F-22 Raptor (seen here) can carry six AIM-120 radar guided air-to-air missiles or two 1,000 pound GBU-32 JDAMs and two AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

An Airman stands in front of a jet.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tom Dodd, 27th Fighter Squadron weapons team chief, marshals an F-22 Raptor to park during the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. ACE enhances asset capability between the C-130 Hercules and F-22 Raptor by utilizing the C-130’s ability to deliver cargo in simulated remote environments, allowing the weapons teams to quickly and safely unload gear, mount weapons and return the jet to the fight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

An Airman secures ammunition to an aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Geronimo Lopez, 27th Fighter Squadron weapons load crew member, secures ammunition on an F-22 Raptor during an Agile Combat Employment exercise at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. To help simulate ACE real-world operations, crews of three Airmen would work to load ammunition onto F-22 Raptors and get them back into the air as quickly and safely as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

An Airmen works on an aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jackson Adelberg, 27th Fighter Squadron weapons technician, prepares the bomb bay of an F-22 Raptor for weapons mount during the Agile Combat Exercise (ACE) at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. ACE enhances asset capability between the C-130 Hercules and F-22 Raptor by utilizing the C-130’s ability to deliver cargo in simulated remote environments, allowing the weapons teams to quickly and safely unload gear, mount weapons and return the jet to the fight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

An Airman looks out the window of an aircraft.
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A Missouri Air National Guard Airman looks out the window of a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. The Missouri Air National Guard worked alongside the 633rd Air Base Wing, 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Wing to train crew members in the Agile Combat Employment strategy being implemented by the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

Fins for a missile sit in a crate.
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Missile fins are assembled in a cargo crate to be used during an Agile Combat Employment exercise at the Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. Crew members would affix these fins to missiles which would later be loaded onto the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

The cockpit of an aircraft.
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The cockpit of a C-130 Hercules belonging to the Missouri Air National Guard is shown prior to the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. C-130s are known for their capability to quickly transform configurations and meet a variety of tasks to ensure mission success in austere environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

An Airman inspects computer data from an aircraft.
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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jackson Adelberg, 27th Fighter Squadron weapons load crew member, checks over computer data from an F-22 Raptor during an Agile Combat Employment exercise at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. This military strategy allows our Air Force to maintain air dominance and support operations around the globe by adapting to future military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

Airmen prepare ammunition for a training exercise.
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U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 1st Fighter Wing prepare to load ammunition onto a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor during an Agile Combat Employment exercise at the Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. Weapons load crew members from the 1st FW practiced loading ammunition onto a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor to help simulate a combat environment employing the ACE strategy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

Airmen prepare cargo for an exercise.
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Members of the 1st Fighter Wing prepare equipment for an Agile Combat Employment exercise at the Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. After landing in Wallops Island, Virginia, crew members had to quickly unload gear and prepare for the arrival of two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors participating in the ACE exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

An aircraft sits on the flight line.
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A C-130 Hercules belonging to the Missouri Air National Guard sits on the flight line during the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. C-130s are known for their capability to quickly transform configurations and meet a variety of tasks to ensure mission success in austere environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

The cockpit of an aircraft.
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The cockpit of a C-130 Hercules belonging to the Missouri Air National Guard is shown prior to the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. C-130s are known for their capability to quickly transform configurations and meet a variety of tasks to ensure mission success in austere environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

An airmen inspects an aircraft on the flight line.
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U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Requena; 139th Air Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, replaces a cowl plug on a C-130 Hercules during the Agile Combat Exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 14, 2021. Cowl plugs protect the aircraft’s intakes from objects entering the open area while it is parked. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

Aircraft sit on a flight line.
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A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and a C-130 Hercules sit on an airfield during an Agile Combat Employment exercise at the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, Jan. 13, 2021. This military strategy allows our Air Force to maintain air dominance and support operations around the globe by adapting to future military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus M. Bullock)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS,Va. –  Through hard work and rigorous training, members of the 633rd Air Base Wing, 1st Fighter Wing, 192nd Wing, and Missouri Air National Guard completed a week-long Agile Combat Employment exercise Jan. 11-15 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

With the ever-changing landscape of combat, the Air force must adapt to meet the demand for current and future military operations.

During this exercise, Airmen honed their skills on various tasks required of them for the new shift in combat employment.

In the past, the Air Force would deploy a large contingency of aircraft to support operations around the globe. While that is still a possibility, ACE focuses on being able to rapidly deploy a smaller size force. To provide air dominance in support of military operations around the globe with a responsive tactical force, practicing ACE tactics are paramount for units.

“Today we’re going to see the ammo and weapons troops come out and practice loading and offloading the aircraft with their equipment that is specialized to this mission and configure their equipment to our aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Mears, 139th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “We are going to test and see what our limits are and what we need to change, making sure that we’re checking all boxes safely and getting through the exercise so that we can give leadership good information to make better decisions.”

According to U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrew Gibler, 27th Fighter Squadron director of maintenance, this exercise simulated a real-world scenario for crews utilizing ACE for operations. The jets would land in a simulated austere environment, ground crews would refuel and reload the aircraft, and quickly turn them around so they can rapidly support another mission.

"This is one of the first times we’ve had the ability to actually practice this in conjunction with loading munitions on the ground,” Gibler said. “This is an awesome opportunity for us to see what it would be like, and so far we are beating our expectations and are already finding several ways to increase our efficiency.”

As ACE is an Air Force-wide initiative, there is an emphasis on several different units working in conjunction to help improve effectiveness throughout.

“It’s important for us because everything that we do on our side of the fence is together,” Gibler said. “This is a one team, one fight mentality for us; being able come out and see everyone participate and work together is proof of how awesome our teams are.”

Maintenance crews were not the only ones to benefit from this ACE exercise. Pilots for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and the C-130 Hercules aircraft played vital roles. The C-130s provided by the Missouri Air National Guard helped to transport equipment and crews from JBLE to support the F-22s from the 1st FW and 192nd Wing.

The implementation of ACE is a strategy that is helping to evolve the Air Force and its operations. With ACE in place, the Air Force is continually adapting to provide air dominance and support to military operations around the globe.

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