Exercise Bushwhacker 22-03 sets the standard

During Exercise Bushwhacker 22-03, A-Staff was evaluated on techniques and tactics for future Air Combat Command certification as a Lead Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 9-13, 2022.

A Lead Wing is an agile and proactive force able to operate in any contested environment with joint and coalition partners before a crisis emerges. To seamlessly plug into our partners’ structures, the 355th Wing established an A-Staff for command and control, and used this exercise to continue preparation to deploy as a newly established Lead Wing.

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber
Airmen check communications during exercise Bushwhacker 22-03 at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz., May 11, 2022. The Lead Wing’s A-Staff communicated with multi-capable Airmen in the field during forward area refueling point operations, coming under simulated small-arms fire, performing Tactical Combat Casualty Care and relocating assigned forces. | Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber

“This exercise was designed to test our new A-Staff’s ability to command and control organic Dynamic Wing units, as well as the force elements we would expect to gain during a Lead Wing deployment,” said Col. Joseph Turnham, 355th Wing commander. “It’s taken a unified focus to ensure we’re prepared to generate the combat airpower our nation and allies need in any environment.”

The Lead Wing’s A-Staff focused on developing, exercising and refining standard operating procedures to execute successful C2 operations, while communicating with a simulated contingency location at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz.

 

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber
An Airman receives Tactical Combat Casualty Care as a simulated victim of small-arms fire at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz., May 11, 2022. The Lead Wing’s A-Staff communicated with multi-capable Airmen in the field during forward area refueling point operations, coming under simulated small-arms fire, performing Tactical Combat Casualty Care and relocating assigned forces. | Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber

The A-Staff, along with special staff that included public affairs, command post, legal, finance and medical worked together to plan and appropriately respond to various scenarios. The scenarios involved communicating with multi-capable Airmen in the field during forward area refueling point operations, coming under simulated small-arms fire, performing Tactical Combat Casualty Care and relocating assigned forces.

Other ACC Lead Wings observed BW 22-03 and were able to identify lessons learned for use to refine their own concepts of Lead Wing operations. The 355th Wing has set the standard for ACC’s Lead Wing by creating a permanent A-Staff and completing ACC’s combat oriented maintenance organization.

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber
Airmen from the 355th Wing participate in exercise Bushwhacker 22-03 at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, Ariz., May 11, 2022. The Lead Wing’s A-Staff focused on developing, exercising and refining standard operating procedures to execute successful command and control operations, while communicating with a simulated contingency location at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field. | Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber

“During our next Bushwhacker exercise we’ll integrate multiple lines of effort including C2, mission generation, multi-capable Airmen and base operations support with the goal of meeting ACC’s Lead Wing certification requirements,” Turnham said. “Agile Combat Employment concepts aren’t new to us, and I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made as a team since setting down this path in 2018.”

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