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Alaska Airmen Conduct Agile Combat Employment Exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey,
  • 168th Wing Public Affairs

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska - The 168th Civil Engineering Squadron, 168th Security Forces, and 168th Medical Group, Alaska Air National Guard, joined forces to augment each other’s strengths during an agile combat employment exercise Oct. 12-16.

On the first morning, the Air Guard members drove a convoy of dump trucks and heavy equipment across Arctic ice roads to Fort Greely training grounds bordered on the south by the Alaska Mountain Range.

At Fort Greely Donnelly Training area 107 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Airmen established base operations. They provided light, power, structures and living quarters, simulated a contested environment, created security perimeters, conducted 9 Line medevac requests, and completed training objectives across the spectrum of operations.

“We are empowering our Airmen to lead and solve problems in different ways,” said Lt. Col. Mathea Rasmussen, 168th Civil Engineering Squadron commander. “This exercise prepares us to defend and keep the adversary from wanting to start something today.”

Members of 168th WG Emergency Management connected to train with 354th Fighter Wing EM during the exercise, sharpening their skills to respond to a potential threat quickly and safely.

During the exercise, Airmen from 168 CE, 168 SFS, and 168 MDG demonstrated their integrated readiness, performed outside their career fields, and expanded their knowledge. 

The training ensures all Airmen can operate equipment or set up an entry control point to conduct security outside their career field, preparing as many Airmen as possible to defend in remote locations during war.

Senior Airman Daniel Bauer, with security forces at the 168 WG, was a CE “dirt boy” during the ACE exercise.

“It was good to run the heavy equipment because if we ever end up stuck somewhere where we don’t have anyone else to run it, we will have the skills,” said Bauer. “It is good to have the skills and good for the CE folks to learn what we do as well.”

“It was neat to see CE and SFS cross-train,” said Capt. Michael Nash, 168th Wing deputy base civil engineer. “I understand what an ECP is but have never had to see all the different aspects and considerations that go into it.”

Senior Airman Austin Folse, an engineer in the 168th Wing and an assistant community planner in his civilian career at Eielson Air Force Base, trained everyone on survey equipment and got familiar with heavy equipment. 

“The exercise is essentially getting us accustomed to this type of environment with minimal assets,” he said.

“If you are from Alaska, jumping on heavy equipment is part of it, and you got to have the skill,” said Staff Sgt. Lolito Mendoza, with the paving equipment and construction section at 168 WG. 

The multicapable term is a mindset National Guardsmen have had for a long time as they bring their skills from their civilian careers to their military duty.

Mendoza is also a telecom specialist in his civilian career for the Alaska Fire Service, Bureau of Land Management and Department of Interior. He also provides internet and radio communications for wildfire incidents.

When the force trains in different aspects of the mission, the likelihood of success increases. The 168th Wing continues to increase agile combat employment through MCA and the setup of forward operations.