HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. - Five Air National Guard wings are conducting agile combat training during Operation Hoodoo Sea along the southeast U.S. coast.
The exercise, led by the Virginia ANG, seeks to test and validate minimum force elements using multi-capable Airmen executing functions across job specialties and multiple platforms.
Airmen support the F-22, KC-135, C-17 and strategic bomber aircraft active in the exercise.
Each participating unit is testing innovations in agile secure communications, portable aerospace ground equipment and aircraft concealment and survival kits. Additional support for the exercise is provided by two Air Force Reserve wings, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies.
“Airmen with experience working one subset of tasks will be asked to see how they can integrate on different tasks in austere environments,” said Lt. Col. Lawrence Dietrich, 149th Fighter Squadron commander and exercise commander. “At the end of the exercise, if a KC-135 crew chief is taking a post-mission intelligence report from an F-22 pilot and disseminating threat location to a displaced, over-the-horizon bomber force, while a C-17 loadmaster is helping to execute a combat turn on an F-22, then we are exceeding our expectations for this exercise.”
Another goal of the exercise is to test and validate minimum force elements using multi-capable Airmen, making it possible to scale down a deployment by over 90% of the typical personnel and equipment footprint.
“We’re testing a new ladder that collapses and stows inside the F-22 cockpit,” said Dietrich, who is also an F-22 instructor pilot. “This reduces forward staging requirement of equipment and people for ingress and egress of the cockpit to zero.”
Multiple agencies are simulating an enemy capable of collecting and exploiting unencrypted digital signatures. Radio frequency countermeasures are being tested and Airmen are being evaluated on their ability to use counter-human intelligence techniques.
“I am very pleased with the support we are receiving from all levels of government and our partners across the total force,” said Dietrich. “We’re looking forward to improving our skills and the lessons our Airmen will bring back to their units, ultimately making our Air Force a more lethal and agile force.”
Hoodoo Sea is one of many terms to describe the western Atlantic, bound by the Bermuda Triangle extending from Florida to Puerto Rico.
“It’s a fitting title since one of the objectives of our exercise is to make adversary teams lose track of our aircraft while conducting operations in and around the Bermuda Triangle,” said Dietrich.
The exercise included air wings from Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina and was conducted at the end of April and beginning of May.