HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Hill’s 729th Air Control Squadron sent more than 20 of its Airmen into the Uinta-Wasatch National Forest last month for a five-day training exercise called Mountaineer 21-1.
The off-base exercise in provided them hands-on instruction in shelter setup, site concealment, convoy training, land navigation, off-road vehicle capabilities, vehicle recovery, vehicle dismounting, and self-aid and buddy care.
When the squadron isn’t deployed to locations around the world providing theater Air Force commanders a rapid reaction mobile air control and reporting system during worldwide contingencies, the 729th ACS engages in a rigorous training program.
Second Lt. Jeffrey Debick, the site lead for Mountaineer 21-1, said the classroom isn’t always an ideal learning environment for the kind of work the 729th does, so this exercise provided an opportunity to train and employ together in an austere, mountain environment while bolstering their expeditionary skills needed for contingency operations.
It also gave the squadron an opportunity to further unit communication and team building.
Debick said COVID-19 made preparing for the exercise a little more difficult, but every effort was taken to be sure everyone remained safe.
“Exercise participants followed all CDC and DOD guidance related to COVID-19, made an extra effort to limit public events before the exercise, and were health screened prior to departing the installation,” he said.
He said the exercise was a success, and the training and information garnered from the exercise and the curriculum developed will be used train other Airmen in the squadron.
The hundreds of air battle managers and support personnel assigned to the 729th ACS provide command and control of joint air operations through surveillance, identification, weapons control, theater missile defense, battle management and theater communications data links.