HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Throughout the military, ‘readiness’ is a common term and one that encompasses the minimum standards required by all deployable units in order to qualify as mission capable.
From Jan. 22-Feb. 7 the 729th Air Control Squadron at Hill Air Force Base engaged in a comprehensive, two-phase readiness exercise.
“This exercise will allow the Airmen of the 729th Air Control Squadron to hone their craft and sharpen their skills,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Digsby, 729th ACS commander. “Our mission is to deploy on short notice to anywhere in the world and provide combatant commanders with persistent 24/7 battle management command and control of joint air operations.
“It is key that we practice the large, all-encompassing muscle movement of mobilizing our squadron to operate in austere conditions” continued Digsby. “We will practice packing up over 60 increments, thousands of pounds of equipment, and executing our operations with limited outside support once on the ground.”
The three-week exercise began with phase 1, which consisted of the pack-up. Airmen practiced the logistics and administrative paperwork involved with a deployment, as well as the palletizing of equipment according to Air Force shipping standards for aircraft movement.
“With the deployment part of the exercise, there are layers of inspection,” said Master Sgt. L’Javar Fludd-Moss, ground radio supervisor. “The first is a joint technical inspection for vehicles, with the second being an air terminal operations center inspection for every pallet of equipment in order to be transported on an aircraft.”
Phase 2 of the exercise consisted of mobilization and set-up of a simulated forward operating location. During this phase, 729th ACS Airmen moved personnel and equipment on vehicles to the training area and set-up a deployed radar location.
Fludd-Moss said more than half of the Airmen supporting the readiness exercise were new to the unit, and it was beneficial for them to accomplish training in an operational setting.
Col. John Bartoli, commander of the 552nd Air Control Group, parent command to 729 ACS, was on site to watch the exercise and also ended up lending a helping hand with equipment set-up during the mobilization phase.
“A lot of these Airmen out here today are doing this for the first time,” said Bartoli. “They are really doing remarkably well, both Airmen doing this for the first time and the small core of experienced officers and NCO’s who are guiding them through it. I am really proud of them.”