MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Team MacDill fueled Emerald Warrior 2019, a U.S. Special Operations Command sponsored total, joint tactical warfare training exercise, Jan. 14 to 25.
During the two-week training exercise, the 50th and 91st Air Refueling Squadrons and the Force Support and Logistics Readiness Squadrons from the 6th Air Mobility Wing supported Emerald Warrior’s training events.
“During my Emerald Warrior flight, our team offloaded around 30,000 pounds of fuel over Avon Park for six A-10 aircraft and a single AC-130 gunship,” said Capt. Luke Brown, a 50th ARS KC-135 pilot. “Emerald Warrior was unique with visibility as I could see payloads hit the ground; I definitely left with a broader sense of the mission and a deeper understanding of my part in it.”
MacDill’s Auxiliary Field located within Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida, is a remote military training facility and serves as a launch pad for exercise operations.
Since Emerald Warrior specializes in advanced tactical warfare under any conditions, it opened up the instructional playbook to enable a wide range of training scenarios with multiple aircraft.
“This training exercise is important because it certifies refueling pilots as well as combat pilots to be ready to deploy at any time,” said Brown.
Additionally, nine A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, travelled to MacDill AFB in January to participate in the training exercise. A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache helicopters, AC-130 Stringer II aircraft, an MC-130 Combat Talon II and other fighter aircraft also brought air power to the training.
“Between Jan. 14 and 25, MacDill's tankers offloaded approximately 450,000 lbs. of fuel to A-10, MC-130 and AC-130 aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Brian Dumond, the 166th ARS tanker lead planner.
The extra fuel is critical to flight operations in both training and real world contingencies.
“Providing 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of fuel to an A-10 extends their flight time several hours,” said Brown.
More flight time means more weapons dropped or, more importantly, lives saved.
Not only did MacDill Airmen fuel the fight, they ensured visiting service members were taken care of on the ground.
“MacDill has been a wonderful host for our unit, especially the lodging team,” said 1st Lt. Cammy Alberts, the 127th Wing public affairs officer from Selfridge ANGB. “We have more than 200 personnel here with each of us having our own room and as a whole, we don’t have any complaints with our stay here.”
The 6th LRS team provided fuel and transportation for equipment and personnel, effectively driving the success of the exercise from behind the scenes.
“The petroleum, oil and lubricant flight provided fuel for our A-10s, the transportation management office team provided safe transportation of our equipment and the vehicle operations flight provided our team safe and reliable transportation between the base and auxiliary field,” said Alberts.
When diverse personnel and resources come together to accomplish a mission, they become an efficient warfighting force.
“Emerald Warrior is a crucial military training exercise because it develops coalition partnerships and interoperability in an ongoing effort to modernize our warfighting capabilities and increase lethality,” said Alberts.
MacDill might just be one cog in the machine, but due to the efforts of its Airmen, U.S. Special Operations Command joint forces can operate at a higher tactical and strategic level through unmatched mission support.