Commandos’ Hilltop Workup

A variety of 1st Special Operations Wing aircraft relocated from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to Hill AFB, Utah, for an expeditionary force-integration exercise earlier this month, officials announced. “We’re getting guys outside of home station training, out of just unilateral training,” 1st SOW theater plans chief Maj. Dwight Jones said in a release. Three CV-22s, two MC-130Hs, two U-28s, and an AC-130U gunship deployed to Hill for integrated training with the resident F-16s and Army AH-64 attack helicopters. “We routinely find ourselves in air stacks with those players, but hardly ever get to practice with them,” said Jones. Exercise Ultimate Archer also offered the air commandos the opportunity to train in mountainous terrain with Special Operations Forces on the ground, and a joint command and control center. “We do very good at training aircrew … but the command and control structure that the [Joint Special Operations Air Detachment] provides is not exercised nearly enough,” added JSOAD boss Lt. Col. Aaron Ffrench. Ultimate Archer ran Nov. 2-6.