Hurlburt Field, FL

Joint and coalition warfighters test tactical expertise during Navy FST-J exercise

Deb Henley - 505 CCW PA

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U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 505th Combat Training Squadron and 926th Operations Group, Detachment 1, Hurlburt Field, Florida, supported the U.S. Navy Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint exercise, or FST-J.

FST-J exercises are a U.S. Navy-sponsored exercise that bring together multiple units from across the globe to train together in a virtual environment. The week-long exercise included participants from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army, and units from the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy.

The 505th CTS’s Professional Control Force provided mission support via Joint Semi-Automated Forces by providing realistic pilot role-play; the Air Operation Center Replication Cell provided critical command and control support to the carrier strike group and subordinate units.

“The [505th CTS] took it to the next level,” said Brynt Query, U.S. Fleet Forces Joint & Partner Nation Training team lead. “They are critical enablers; the Navy has no replication cell that compares to the 505th CTS team, and the FST-J mission would suffer without them.”

FST-J exercises provide a valuable opportunity to build and test the tactical expertise of geographically separated units. The training also reduces the complex logistics involved in live exercises and allows for intricate and demanding tactical and operational scenarios. FST-J is one of many exercises the U.S. Navy and other units participate in to maintain maximum proficiency and cooperation.

“The 505th CTS support to FST exercises represents a convergence of our broad mission sets,” said Gregg Bourke, 505th CTS chief of operations. “We not only send forward our Air Operations Center Replication Cell subject matter experts but also members of our Professional Control Force. Combined, these two teams provide joint command and control and realistic presentation of airpower to our Navy and coalition partners.”

The 505th CTS and 926th OG/Det 1 produced seven Air Tasking Orders and Airspace Control Orders throughout the exercise. In addition, the team supported the flying operations of 1,403 missions with 2,357 individual sorties to provide certification training in a joint maritime, air, and littoral high-end U.S. Indo-Pacific Command scenario. The six-day exercise resulted in high-fidelity training for over 1,100 U.S. Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen.

“Make no mistake, the United States Navy plays a vital role in addressing the pacing challenge in INDOPACOM,” said Milton Waddell, 505th CTS Air Operations Center Replication Cell team lead. “And should we experience a future in which the U.S. must defeat our competitors in the Pacific, we need sailors well-acquainted with how the U.S. Air Force employs airpower; this is the real value of these exercises.”

The Tactical Training Group Pacific, or TTGP, located in San Diego, California, facilitated the FST-J exercise by providing participants with the virtual architecture and distributed training environment.

At the culmination of the exercise, Hurlburt team members Tech. Sgt. Chadwick Goleta, Mark Hill, and Alyssa Medina were recognized for their outstanding performance by U.S. Navy Capt. Darren Glaser, TTGP commanding officer, presented a “Bravo Zulu,” a nautical signal, historically conveyed by flag-hoist or voice radio, meaning “well done,” typically extended in contemporary times as the highest compliment.

The 505th CTS reports to the 505th Combat Training Group, Nellis AFB, Nevada, and the 505th Command and Control Wing, headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

This article was created by the 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs Office, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

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Deb Henley is the 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs Advisors assigned to Hurlburt Field, Florida. I publish articles on the wing's mission at Hurlburt Field and its 14 geographically separated units.

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