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4th FW Kick off AGILE FLAG 21-2

By Tech. Sgt. Carlin Leslie

F-15E Strike Eagles, assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing, arrive for AGILE FLAG 21-2 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. The 4th FW, assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, will employ mission generation, command and control, and base operating support-integrator elements from its main operating base while supporting three other locations during AGILE FLAG. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)

The lead wing and experiment objectives are in place for a deployment like no other, taking place in the panhandle of Florida. Air Combat Command’s AGILE FLAG 21-2 experiment will test the 4th Fighter Wing’s (Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina) ability to deploy into theater as a lead Air Expeditionary Wing April 26 – May 7, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Jaylun Brown, 336th Fighter Squadron crew chief, marshals in an F-15E Strike Eagle at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. The 336 FS, assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, is one of approximately 10 units and 20 aircraft are participating in the second iteration of AGILE FLAG, hosted at Tyndall AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)

The unit will employ mission generation, command and control, and base operating support-integrator elements from its main operating base at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, while supporting two contingency locations and a forward operating base.

“A modern, peer-war fight requires a warrior culture, credibility, capacity and high-end capability,” said Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of ACC. “The units that ACC sends forward have to seamlessly plug-in to their combat-engaged formations and structures.”

According to Kelly, aligning with directives from the Air Force chief of staff, there’s no time for the team forward deploying to acclimate to one another and there’s no time for a combat-engaged Combined Forces Air Component Commanders to provide on-the-job training.

Several F-15E Strike Eagles, assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing, sit on the ramp for AGILE FLAG 21-2 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. Air Combat Command developed the AGILE FLAG 21-2 experiment to create a lead wing, aligning squadrons from different locations under a single commander, enhancing their readiness as a team before deploying into a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)

“Successful operations and combat support in a contested environment demand maximum delegation, trust, and empowerment of Airmen before conflict starts,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. “We must empower Airmen at all levels, delegating to the lowest capable and competent level possible, mindful that with empowerment and trust comes accountability.”

As part of Agile Flag, Seymour-Johnson will deploy F-15E Strike Eagles, from the 336th Fighter Squadron, while the 1 FW at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, will deploy F-22 Raptors from the 27 FS.

U.S. Air Force maintainers assigned to 336th Fighter Squadron perform post-flight checks on an F-15E Strike Eagle at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. Air Combat Command developed the AGILE FLAG 21-2 experiment to create a lead wing, aligning squadrons from different locations under a single commander, enhancing their readiness as a team before deploying into a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)

Additionally, the 5th Combat Communications Group from Robins AFB, Georgia, will establish a significant portion of the communications infrastructure at all locations of operations.

Bringing in other major commands, Air Mobility Command’s 19th Airlift Wing (Little Rock AFB, Arkansas) will support airlift with C-130Js, while the Air Force Special Operations Command’s, 15th Special Operations Squadron (Hurlburt) will establish Forward Area Refueling Points with a MC-130H.

These units will come together to demonstrate and exercise how the 4FW organization can project combat airpower, while remaining agile and dynamic, utilizing the assets that are available.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jeffery “Slick” Meiborg, 336th Fighter Squadron F-15E Strike Eagle weapons system officer, walks along an F-15 after arriving at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. The 336th FS, assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, is one of approximately 10 units and 20 aircraft are participating in the second iteration of AGILE FLAG, hosted at Tyndall AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)

“We are hoping to show the progress in working toward the new USAF force presentation model,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Frasch, ACC Operations Dynamic Force Employment chief. “Bridging the 4 FW’s first agile combat employment ‘tasking’ from RAPID FORGE in August 2019 to now.”

Finally, while operations are underway, Fifteenth Air Force headquarters and the United States Air Force Warfare Center will observe the experiment to help develop and identify standards and qualifications that are necessary to certify a lead wing in the future

An F-15E Strike Eagle, assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing, lands at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. The 4th FW, assigned to Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, is participating in the AGILE FLAG 21-2 experiment to test the wing’s ability to deploy into theater as a lead Air Expeditionary Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)
Three F-22 Raptors assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, arrive for AGILE FLAG 21-2 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 30, 2021. AGILE FLAG is designed to prepare forces for a modern, high-end, peer-to-peer war, falling in line with Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. C. Q. Brown’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” guidance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)

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