Cold operators: 140th Wing exercises in the arctic

  • Published
  • By Airman Basic Mira Roman
  • 140th Wing Public Affairs

Negative 20 degrees, thawing hands and Airmen of two uniforms worked together to complete one common mission, to successfully perform an Agile Combat Employment exercise. The recently completed ACE mission, known as Amalgam Dart 21-02, was vital to prepare Airmen for a short notice deployment to a foreign location with minimal manpower.

ACE is an operational concept that leverages networks of well-established air bases, multi-capable airmen, pre-positioned equipment, and airlift to rapidly deploy, disperse and maneuver combat capability throughout a theater. In this exercise, the Air Force showcased its ability to defend the homeland from an austere airfield a few hundred miles south of the North Pole.

The exercise saw Colorado Air National Guard Airmen working with and receiving support from other units in the Air National Guard and NATO Allies. During this training exercise jets launched from multiple locations spanning from Thule Air Base, Greenland, to the entire Eastern seaboard. Aircraft performed intercepts near the North Pole and towards the east coast and those aircraft were successfully escorted around the North American Air Defense Identification Zone. Airmen from the Royal Canadian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force provided command and control across the theater, performed aircraft refueling, and generally launched, intercepted and recovered multiple airframes.

In total, the mission saw 32 Airmen from the Colorado Air National Guard and four F-16 Fighting Falcons perform 30 sorties, or flying missions, garnering a total of 94 flying hours over the five-day exercise.

“The relationship between the two countries, of course, is excellent,” said Royal Canadian Air Force Col. Normand GagnĂ©, 3 Wing commander at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Newfoundland and Labrador. “We do have a common goal to defend North America.”

Even in the current state of a socially distanced world, thanks to the discipline of all of the Airmen participating in the exercise and support of all their allies, the mission was able to be executed with the prior Covid-19 testing of all participants, social distancing implementation and proper mask regulations, he said.

“We were able to bring out people in, make sure they were Covid free, keep them separated from one another and still execute the mission in the midst of this pandemic,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Micah Fesler, 140th Wing commander at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

This exercise further expands 140th Wing capabilities in the far north, as well as building relationships with our Canadian allies in particular.

“It is always nice to be able to work with our partners,” stated GangĂ©. “It's all about learning and the more we know about each other the more we can work together.”