Airmen from the 52nd Fighter Wing participated in an Agile Combat Employment exercise at Ramstein Air Base, Jan. 22, to practice generating combat airpower in an austere environment and deter aggressors.
This was the first time the 52nd FW sent Airmen to a forward-operating location in support of ACE. Although maintainers and crew chiefs are known for the launch and recovery of jets, there is a lot more work that goes on behind the scenes.
The exercise would not be possible without the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
“A huge thing for the 52nd LRS is the planning and executing portion,” said Airman 1st Class Kyle Babauta, 52nd LRS logistics planner.
Days before the exercise, the squadron’s Installation Deployment Readiness Cell received tasks and requirements. After IDRC Airmen notified personnel and cargo tasked to participate in the exercise, the 52nd LRS provided transportation to Ramstein.
“The goal of the 52nd LRS during ACE is to ensure the deployment arm of the wing is able to deploy passengers and cargo at a moment’s notice to increase survivability,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Martin, 52nd LRS IDRC superintendent.
52nd LRS Airmen also refueled the F-16 Fighting Falcons while they were at Ramstein AB. The squadron’s work directly supports Spangdahlem’s mission.
“ACE is one of the top priorities for the wing,” Martin said. “It’s vital that the 52nd LRS not only participates in the exercise, but leads ACE’s deployment functions from start to finish.”
Col. David Epperson, 52nd FW commander, has three priorities: the strike mission, ACE, and integrated base defense. ACE ensures U.S. Air Forces in Europe are ready to protect and defend allies at a moment’s notice. One of the main goals of ACE is to deter adversaries by spreading out, making the political risk calculus too complex.
Past ACE exercises conducted by the 52nd FW took place at Spangdahlem Air Base, but the wing plans to exercise at other forward-deployed locations in the future. ACE operations require advance planning to make the mission happen.
“Logistics is one of the most important functions in any deployment operation,” Martin said. “Precise planning from beginning to end starts with the IDRC.”