31st FW conducts ACE dispersal exercise

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  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airmen and U.S. Air Force aircraft from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, conducted an Agile Combat Employment dispersal exercise throughout Europe, Mar. 8, 2021.

During the exercise, Airmen from the 31st Operations Group, 31st Maintenance Group, and 31st Mission Support Group worked together to disperse assets to several locations throughout Italy and Germany for various training opportunities.

U.S. Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawks from the 56th Rescue Squadron executed training over Slovenia and F-16 Fighting Falcons with the 555th Fighter Squadron deployed to various locations throughout Italy.

While at one of those locations, explosive ordnance disposal personnel with the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron participated in integration training with Italian air force EOD. The training covered non-explosive hazards, how to safely work around aircraft during an EOD response, and how to recognize and safe explosive hazards.

“The desired end state is to develop strong interagency and international relationships,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Tyler Aldridge, 31st CES EOD operations and training section chief. “Our goal is to strengthen our current relationship with ITAF EOD through information sharing, procedural exchanges, and global exercise engagements.”

F-16s from the 510th Fighter Squadron also deployed to Germany, for exercise Agile Fury with the 480th FS, Spangdahlem and the German air force’s 74th Tactical Air Force Wing.

The ACE dispersal exercise was intended to ensure U.S. Air Forces in Europe are ready for potential contingencies by allowing forces to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support. It also ensures Airmen and aircrews are postured to provide lethal combat power across the spectrum of military operations.

“This our first dispersal exercise for on base assets as we build towards ACE initial operating capability,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Sara Shiveley, 31st FW plans and programs ACE chief. “Its primary intent is to assess where we currently are and identify ways to improve the plans we’ve developed so far.”

Exercises and deployments that utilize ACE concepts ensure forces in Europe are ready to protect and defend partners, allies and U.S. interests at a moment’s notice, and generate lethal combat power should deterrence fail.