Service members from the 10th Mountain Division, the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, and the 174th Attack Wing conducted a joint air-ground integration training exercise at Fort Drum and Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse New York, Feb. 4-6, 2020.
The exercise familiarized Soldiers and Airmen with planning and applying fires in simulated scenarios. A crawl, walk, run model split the event into phases consisting of academics, application familiarization, and practical exercises.
The integrated training provided valuable experience to personnel while ensuring mission readiness for potential deployments, said Capt. Ashley Solonar, fire support officer for 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
The multi-day event began in a classroom setting at Fort Drum's Mission Training Complex. Several key topics were discussed including lessons learned from overseas units, legal directive of operations, and kinetic strike tactics and procedures.
On the second day of training, participants travelled to Hancock Field, home of the 174th. Participants learned the capabilities of the MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned remotely piloted aircraft, and were presented with cockpit video and audio of actual missions in order to gain real-world insight.
The 138th Attack Squadron supported the event by providing experienced pilots and training equipment to create a simulated exercise environment. An artificial MQ-9 feed was displayed for real-time feedback, allowing instructors to coach through several scenarios while fielding questions.
On the final day of the event, participants worked through a series of scenarios based on historical operations data prepared by the 138th and the 10th Mountain Division. Participants performed each scenario at a learning pace, assessed the results, and immediately provided key feedback.
"The 10th Mountain Division along with our local Air Force partners were able to solve problems and fill training gaps where all parties benefitted," said Maj. Kurt Wasilewski, fire-support coordinator, 10th Mountain Division. "Our teams developed a solid foundation from which future training events will be built," he added.