Allied Strike 2011 deemed a success

by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
USAFE Public Affairs

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany ─ Nearly 350 people from the U.S. and 14 NATO partner nations prepared to depart the Grafenwoehr Training Area July 2, having successfully and safely completed a busy 10 days of training geared toward Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and support personnel.

“I’m phenomenally proud of everyone involved,” said Lt. Col. Jon Berry, exercise director and commander of the 4th Air Support Operations Squadron. “The effort leading up to the exercise, the effort during the event, and training that was accomplished was just fantastic.

“These JTACS are the very best at what they do,” he said. “They’ve learned some new skill sets, and they’ve also learned some valuable tools when it comes to detailed and integrated planning efforts, which is only going to increase their usefulness as TACPs. So my hats off to them ─ they’ve done a phenomenal job.”
The exercise included eight primary training lanes in which JTACs refined their tactics, techniques and procedures for calling in Close Air Support in a variety of

They also trained in a Tactical Operations Center and participated in a variety of simulators to better prepare them for the actual training lanes. Most lanes were led by U.S. Air Force JTAC instructors, but two were run by NATO partners: Combat Outpost Defense was led by Belgian JTACS, and the Urban lane ─ which took place at Hohenfels, Germany ─ was led by Danish JTACs.

“It was very important to us that we integrate our partners not only in a participant role, but that all partner nations also lead events,” said Capt. Ruven Yarbrough, exercise deputy director.

“The intent with all the lanes is to get the most out of each other’s experiences,” he said. “Since we all train slightly differently, we might have unique strengths and weaknesses. When we all come together, we’re collectively better when we operate together all over the world.”

In addition to the JTAC-specific lanes, much of the training was geared specifically toward support personnel, including convoy training, emergency CAS training, weapons training and tactical vehicle rollover training. “The value of this event is the fact that we can bring so many people together in a concentrated environment,” said Berry.

“We can fully integrate not only the operators, but our support personnel as well, in order to get maximum value for our training in a very short amount of time.
This is relevant training ─ training that we’re going to use downrange, and training that we know will have value not only for the operators, but for everybody else here as well.”