Airmen from eight units across Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, participated in exercise Razor Talon, led by the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, March 22-26. These Air Mobility Command Airmen practiced skills outside of their normal career fields while participating in Dover AFB’s first Multi-Capable Airmen team exercise.
The MCA concept involves teaching Airmen how to accomplish tasks outside of their primary Air Force specialty code, creating a dynamic, cross-functional team to meet and provide combat support. The program at Dover AFB integrates rapid mobility operations into the Agile Combat Employment concept in support of the joint and combined warfighter.
“Mobility is increasingly playing an integral role in executing Agile Combat Employment, ensuring the Joint Force can compete, deter and win in a future high-end fight,” said Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, AMC commander. “We are developing and empowering our mobility Airmen to leverage cross-functional skill sets as part of lean, dynamic teams.”
The ACE concept is the ability to launch, recover and maintain aircraft away from air bases and employ the aircraft, as well as multi-capable Airmen, in austere locations. During Razor Talon, Seymour Johnson AFB served as the main operating base while Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, served as the forward operating location.
After landing at MCAS Cherry Point in a C-17 Globemaster III, the MCA team split into three functional areas. Base operations and support integration Airmen cleared the perimeter around the aircraft and maintained security. Mission generation Airmen fueled and defueled the aircraft, performed necessary maintenance and loaded and unloaded cargo. Command and control Airmen established a Tactical Operations Center, creating a secret communication line between the forward operating site and Dover AFB allowing transmission of necessary situational reports.
The 3rd Airlift Squadron aircrew and MCA team members also performed hot-pit refueling. This process allows fighter aircraft to land and refuel without stopping their engines. While at MCAS Cherry Point, the Dover AFB C-17 and multiple Little Rock AFB C-130J Super Hercules aircraft were defueled and directly fueled various Seymour Johnson AFB F-15E Strike Eagles via an R-11 fuel truck that served as cargo aboard the C-17. This technique reduces the amount of time the aircraft are on the ground.
“Exercises like Razor Talon not only provided an opportunity to test new ideas and concepts, but also allow us to hone our skill of developing new capabilities so we can maintain superiority on and off the battlefield,” said Tech Sgt. Jason Byrd, 436th Communications Squadron Cyber Plans and Programs noncommissioned officer in charge, who supported TOC communications during the exercise. “It’s an opportunity to lay the groundwork and shape AMC’s newest capability and get experience outside of my career field.”
Aircrew from the 3rd AS flew the C-17 on a total of eight sorties to and from MCAS Cherry Point, transporting 35,795 pounds of cargo and 103 passengers. This iteration of RT had participants from 21 different units, including Dover, Little Rock and Seymour Johnson AFB, reserve and Air National Guard units, as well as joint counterparts from the Marines and Navy.
“MCA teams are essential to the ACE concept,” said Col. Michael Peeler, 436th Operations Group commander. “It is crucial that Airmen are trained in other AFSCs, and exercises like Razor Talon are a great testament to what AMC brings to the table for ACE to meet combatant commander’s requirements around the globe. I’m looking forward to the future of the MCA program so Team Dover can be prepared for the high-end fight.”
The future for MCA at Dover AFB, according to Maj. Raul Cantualla, 436th Operations Support Squadron operations officer and MCA Action Officer will center around securing operational advantages by assuring units and MCA teams are properly trained and certified for ACE.
“The key to future success will be speed of adaptability in our cultural understanding of the threat environment and increased decision speed in a high-end fight,” he said. “For Team Dover MCA this means building a baseline understanding of the contested environments we will be forced to operate in. This operational understanding will transform ACE and MCA from an interesting concept to a compelling force employment strategy each Airmen should internalize.”