Over the course of six months, a core group of 184th Wing exercise planners designed Exercise Jayhawk Talon to challenge the Wing and its Airmen’s ability to deploy and accomplish their mission-essential tasks in a contested, time-constrained environment.
As part of the Wing’s Air Combat Command Unit Effectiveness Inspection cycle, the wing is required to demonstrate that assigned units can accomplish wartime taskings under challenging, rigorous, and austere conditions at least once. To meet this goal, a large-scale readiness exercise took place over several days in late May and early June in partnership with the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment and the 35th Military Police, Kansas Army National Guard, Illinois Air National Guard, 22nd Air Refueling Wing, and Armenian personnel through the Kansas State Partnership Program.
“This was a true joint and coalition expeditionary exercise providing a realistic scenario/threat scenario,” said Lt. Col. Herman Norwood, director of staff and lead exercise planner, 184th Wing, “everything from a contested, degraded environment to asymmetrical threats with rigor not seen before in a 184th Wing readiness exercise.”
During the exercise, more than 245 personnel deployed to three separate locations. The 177th Information Aggressor Squadron was tasked to play an adversarial role throughout the planning and build-up to deployment, including attempts to disrupt the deployment process on the day of troop movement.
“Having to fight through disruptions that could have been prevented through better operational security makes exercise participants better prepared to protect critical information and movements in the future,” said Lt. Col. Dave Carpenter, commander, 177th IAS.
Over the course of the exercise, under adverse conditions, personnel from Army and Air units tested their skills at rapid runway repair; cargo and personnel movement; tactical radar and networking support; mass casualty response and medical evacuation; civil unrest response, and providing subsistence, lodging operations, and morale, welfare, and recreation activities.
“The inspection requirement measuring if we are able to meet our mission essential tasks is only part of the reason that we do such exercises,” said Col. Steven Smart, commander, 184th Wing. “We are expected to know our wartime taskings and be able to perform our missions when called upon in a time of need.
“The only way to really test our people, processes, and equipment is to train like we plan to fight with the same sense of urgency and tenacity.”