Airmen with the 35th Fighter Wing conducted a two-day surge exercise April 4-5 with F-16 Fighting Falcons at Misawa Air Base, Japan.
“During surge operations, we’re validating our wing’s ability to generate (aircraft) in a simulated combat scenario,” said Capt. Josh Plocinski, the 14th Fighter Squadron chief of standardization and evaluation.
For airmen and pilots, this meant each flying squadron increased in performance from nearly 20 to about 70 missions daily.
“During surge operations our timeline is accelerated, so we’ll fly with shorter turn times to simulate what we could see in a combat environment,” said MSgt. Michael Woroniecki, the 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons flight chief. “Surge operations like this test our ability to meet a higher demand operations tempo.”
To make this happen, 24-hour operations were put in place with personnel working 12-hour shifts. Sorties began at 8 a.m. and finished at midnight to increase preparedness and help pilots improve their flying skills in all weather conditions.
Along with the increased pace of jet generation, both the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons operated out of the same building to simulate a deployed environment.
“At Misawa you’re not used to sharing the same space or working with different people, but you still have to make the mission happen,” Plocinkski said. “It takes more planning and coordination than we would normally do on a day-to-day basis.”
As scenarios were carried out, data was gathered to determine the success of the surge exercise.
“After action reports are completed by gathering input of what worked and didn’t work, and how the missions themselves went,” Plocinski explained. “We then take those lessons and apply them the next time we do this.”
Exercises like these are held when wing leadership determines it’s necessary to sharpen proficiency in aircraft maintenance resiliency and operational agility. Plocinski said they enhance the wing’s ability to effectively and efficiently generate F-16s and remain combat ready.