Atlantic Strike simulates combat for joint service members

| November 11, 2010 | 0 Comments

Airman 1st Class Daniel Phelps
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Air Force Staff Sgt. Michaelson, south tactical lane team leader, pops smoke at Atlantic Strike 10-02, recently, to help simulate a sense of urgency for participants. (Staff Sgt. Patrick Mitchell | Courtesy Photo)AVON PARK, Fla. — The team of service members trudged down the road in the hot, mid-afternoon sun wearing body armor, Kevlar helmets and radios on their backs.

Their weapons were drawn, too, because there had been reports of an enemy stronghold in the area.

The team’s mission was to take the “bad guys” out; however, this scenario was not a real mission, but rather the south tactical lane portion of Atlantic Strike 10-02, an Air Combat Command-sponsored joint exercise designed to hone the tactical employment of airpower during close-air-support missions. 

Though the actual exercise was taking place in central Florida, the simulation was in Southwest Asia. Two Soldiers, Sgt. Alex Hummell and Spc. Ron Aschnewitz, both joint fires observers, or JFOs, from 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, participated in the exercise and conducted a patrol.

Simulated improvised explosive devices exploded, and a UH-1 Huey and an AH-1W Cobra patrolled the sky. The goal for the scenario was for the JFOs to coordinate close-air support to engage a ground target in support of the maneuver commander’s intent. 

“South (tactical lane) is designed to mess with their minds,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam Schwartz, a training leader. “It is mentally the most challenging lane here. They need to be aware of everything that is going on — spatial relationships and where their partners are, at all times, while under fire.” 

The thudding blades of the rotor could be heard overhead as the helicopter came in for the attack. The rattle of its gun firing accompanied the dirt flying through the air and the pounding of metal, as bullets tore into the ground and building. 

Rockets were launched from the helicopter, and with a final explosion, the Cobra flew off. 

Soon, a call came in from the JFOs that one of their troops had been “injured” in the previous attack, and a line was called in to the choppers for a medical evacuation. 

The Huey soon landed, and the “injured” troop was loaded up and evacuated. 

Finally, the Cobra crewmembers called in from over the radio, “Threat neutralized.” 

“The idea of this scenario is to keep the (service members) under constant stress to see if they’ll still hit accurate targets,” Schwartz said. 

Each of the different lanes the participants go through is designed this way so that when they are on the battlefield, they will be better trained to handle the stress of combat. 

Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News

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