***image1***More than 200 members from Ramstein and across the Air Force supported the Air and Space Operations Center here and deployed to Grafenwöhr, Germany, to put their war-fighting skills to the test July 18 through Tuesday supporting Exercise Urgent Victory and Unified Endeavor.
Urgent Victory is the preparatory event running from July 18 to Sunday. Unified Endeavor is the mission rehearsal exercise running today through Tuesday. Both are designed to help prepare the Army’s V Corps for its upcoming deployment to Iraq, when it replaces the 18th Airborne Corps.
This is the largest European Command Army exercise in more than a decade and the members of the AOC proved they’re the best at what they do.
“We’re providing an opportunity for V Corps to learn the AOC process so they can execute the mission as soon as they get boots on the ground in Iraq,” said Master Sgt. Howard Teasdale, 32nd Air Operations Squadron superintendent for combat airspace.
In order to make the exercise as realistic as possible for the V Corps, more than 150 members working in U.S. Air Forces Europe’s AOC juggled an already busy schedule supporting two real-world operations.
“We’re currently supporting the Darfur airlift and the space shuttle,” said Staff Sgt. Crystal Higgins, 32nd AOS Joint Search and Rescue Cell.
She doesn’t mind the extra workload though. “This provides us, the AOC, more realistic training. You never know what will pop up when you’re forward deployed,” she said.
In addition to monitoring the EUCOM area of responsibility, members at the AOC and forward deployed in Grafenwöhr gave the Army realistic training including injects, role playing and simulations.
The AOC at Ramstein is simulating Al Udeid’s AOC in Qatar, according to Maj. William Culver, 32nd Air Operations Group AOC exercise planner.
“The operations team is producing the exercise air tasking order, air operations directive and Special Instructions and the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division is providing products similar to what Al Udeid provides the Multinational Corps-Iraq,” said Major Culver.
According to Major Culver, supporting this exercise is a win-win situation. “We’re not only preparing V Corps for (its) deployment, but we’re helping increase the knowledge of both services concerning the other. By ensuring each service understands each others procedures, potential conflicts and problem areas can be identified and solutions implemented,” he said. “Most importantly, these solutions not only help efficiency, but can potentially save lives.”
“Although the primary objective of this exercise is training for V Corps, 32nd AOG personnel are receiving focused preparation for our upcoming AEF rotation,” said Lt. Col. Pete Castor, 32nd AOG deputy commander. “The full up 24/7 AOC is staffed not just by us, but includes members of the 152nd AOG, 21st Air Mobility Operations Squadron, and Hurlburt Field Formal Training Unit. This is truly a team effort, in line with the (Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s) vision for improving and expanding the level of support provided to the Army,” he added.