Camp “Bull” Simons, FL. – 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) carried out Eglin Strike, a multi-echelon Area Operating Base (AOB) exercise July 13-30, 2022, in and around Eglin AFB. Eglin Strike is designed to be a scalable and sustainable situational training exercise (STX) designed to certify and validate Operational Detachment Alpha’s (ODA) readiness and proficiency at home station. The overall intent of the exercise is to ensure ODA’s are validated and to assess readiness at a fraction of the cost of typical training exercises that require major movements of equipment and personnel. The STX included joint assets, working within the same “operations box” to effectively simulate combat operations.
2nd Battalion, 7th SFG(A), began Eglin Strike by welcoming and hosting 29 Colombian Special Forces Soldiers from Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales (CCOES). A Special Forces Detachment Commander, who was closely involved in the exercise, spoke about his experience saying, “This was our first opportunity to participate in an exercise of this magnitude with one of our Partner Forces. The whole purpose of doing this was to strengthen our partnership with the CCOES and to test and validate our AOB capabilities across the battalion.”
The uniqueness of Eglin Strike is the incorporation of various joint services, including Air Force Special Operation Command (AFSOC), the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and Army aviation along with the integration of multiple 7th SFG (A) components to include cyber electro-magnetic activities (CEMA), Multi-Purpose Canine (MPC) and the Group’s Shadow Platoon. The task force deployed forward into the Eglin training and range complex to engage the Opposition Force (OPFOR) in a continuous 96-hour exercise, which incorporated more than half of the 460,000-acre Eglin Air Force Base training area.
“These events enhanced the enduring relationships with key partners and prepared our unit for any full spectrum conflict,” said another SOF Soldier that participated in Eglin Strike. “The Cross Functional teams (CFT), to include Civil Affairs and PSYOP soldiers, conducted flat ranges, close quarters battle, and mission planning in Spanish in preparation for the Culminating Exercise. Operating as a CFT is vital for us, as it integrates USSOF capabilities in training and ensures the team is ready to face complex situations.”
The results of Eglin Strike included the validation of the exercise concept and multiple Mission Essential Tasks (METs) across 7th Group and additional participating elements. A key factor to the success of the exercise was incorporating Soldiers and leaders with recent Resolute Support Mission, Special Operations Team-Delta and Special Warfare Center and School experience in the control (the White Cell) and employment of the OPFOR. This enabled the OPFOR to create a dynamic operational environment due to their understanding of Special Operations assets and tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Eglin Strike initially began as an internally resourced 7th SFG (A) exercise that evolved into a combined effort across 1st Special Forces Command in 2019. Overall, the exercise has been executed five total times across 7th Group and greatly enhanced partner force interoperability and achieving training objectives in support of METL tasks.
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