Approximately 120 Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing’s 606th Air Control Squadron deployed to six undisclosed locations in Southwest Asia on Oct. 12, the 31st Fighter Wing confirmed to Air Force Magazine.
During the deployment, which is slated to last about six months, these Airmen will handle “command and control, air surveillance, airspace deconfliction, and air refueling management in support of” Air Forces Central Command, wing spokesperson Maj. Sarah D. Babcock wrote in an Oct. 19 email to Air Force Magazine.
In the lead up to the exercise, the squadron teamed up with on-base and Army partners to carry out “an approved in-garrison syllabus” for their mandatory, pre-deployment Fieldcraft Hostile training, which Airmen usually complete at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., without needing to leave Italy, according to a wing release.
“While we are always in a state of readiness, we have been preparing for the past few months for this specific mission set,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Faraone, the squadron’s operations director, in the release. “Our support team and maintainers are critical to our success, and have been taking care of specific deployment requirements.”
The squadron’s weapons and tactics flight also assembled an approximately month-long “AFCENT spin-up and certification plan” to refresh veteran deployers and train newbies on what life would be like once they departed Aviano, the release stated.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team we are bringing downrange,” Squadron Operations Superintendent Senior Master Sgt. Nathaniel Kubus said in the release. “Thirty percent of the operators we are bringing with us haven’t even been home for a full year and they are heading back out to do the mission. It’s really impressive to see the team come together as one for the same goal.”
The squadron is made up of nearly 400 Airmen from 25 different specialties. Airmen from 13 Air Force Specialty Codes are taking part in the current deployment, according to the release.