MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Airmen from the 6th Air Refueling Wing conducted an off-site integrated training with the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, 2020.
Over the course of five days, Aircrews with the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, maintainers with the 6th Maintenance Group and Airmen with the 6th Operations Support Squadron teamed with Airmen assigned to Shaw AFB in order to bolster each unit’s full-spectrum readiness capabilities.
According to U.S. Air Force Col. Travis Edwards, the 6th Operations Group commander, the integrated training with Shaw AFB provided a unique opportunity for MacDill’s tanker crews to train in realistic scenarios reminiscent of combat operations in a contested environment.
“We often support other units by providing air refueling support during our integrated trainings,” said Edwards. “However, while we were at Shaw, their fighters conducted scripted training scenarios which allowed us to practice tactics, techniques and procedures in a simulated combat environment.”
For the fighter squadrons assigned to Shaw AFB’s 20th FW, hosting aircrew from MacDill not only enabled their ability to perform air refueling task training, it also allowed the 20th to integrate MacDill’s KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft into tactical training scenarios to defend the tankers during scenarios similar to those seen in combat.
“We execute suppression of enemy air defense and counter air mission all the time, it’s what we are tasked to be really good at,” said Col. Robert Raymond, the 20th OG commander. “This training allowed us to integrate MacDill’s tankers as a protected asset, into some of the higher-end scenarios that we train for every day”
During the integrated training at Shaw, MacDill’s aircrews flew 13 sorties, refueled 200 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, off-loaded 650,000 lbs. of fuel and flew defensive patterns with support from Shaw’s fighter aircraft which simulated realistic combat scenarios.
Upon completion of the training, Col. Edwards expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to conduct the integrated training with Shaw AFB.
“We want to continue to foster our relationship we’ve built with Shaw,” said Edwards. “We are a better Air Force when we integrate, especially when we integrate the mobility and combat air forces.”