ACEs High

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Javier Cruz
  • 14th Flying Training Wing

Agile Combat Employment (ACE) is a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power. The 14th Civil Engineering Squadron is betting to win with ACEs High.  

“ACE utilizes clusters of bases which are geographically grouped for protection, Command and Control (C2), and it complicates the enemy's targets,” said 2nd Lt. Regan Heppe, 14th Civil Engineering Squadron environmental program manager. “We want to develop nearby ‘warm’ or active bases to be able to operate out of in case certain bases get hit or we strategically need to use them.” 

The Department of the Air Force Instruction 10-210, Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (BEEF) Program specifically requires each military member assigned to a Prime BEEF element to participate in a 96-hour Prime BEEF contingency training event. 

During the 96-hour simulated contingency training exercise, elements of the 14 CES rapidly established a simulated Forward Operating Site (FOS) under austere conditions. The FOS contains minimal infrastructure necessary to enable forward operations with the cooperation of host nations and Civil Engineering resources.  

14 CES Fire Protection personnel practiced contamination and decontamination operations while wearing the Joint Firefighter’s Integrated Response Ensemble (J-FIRE) during Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) training. The training highlighted additional challenges Fire Protection personnel must overcome while performing their duties in a contested environment. 

“The purpose of the bare base bed down is to take undeveloped real estate and turn it into an operational air base,” said Heppe. “The two main parts we will be focusing on during the exercise will be building two Small Shelter Systems (SSS) and HESCO barriers to fortify our mini tent city.”  

The exercise provided a training opportunity for Rapid Airfield Damage Recover principles, real-world airfield concrete repair, Agile Airmen Skillsets, tactical convoy operations, communications, land navigation and fire team movements. Further adding to the complexity of the exercise was an intentional reduction of manpower, resources and equipment to drive the concept of Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA).  

After a simulated attack on the FOS, the Airfield Damage Assessment Team (ADAT) surveyed and prioritized repairs necessary to achieve Minimum Operating Strip (MOS) requirements. Once completed the ADAT provided recommended courses of action  to the site commander for selection.  

An additional element of the FOS is the planning and preparation for simulated installation of a Mobile Aircraft Arresting System (MAAS) during the exercise. The MAAS is a mobile, self-contained system used for emergency landing or aborted takeoff. “You can either anchor the MAAS in the pavement itself or in soil,” said Heppe. “We will be selecting the correct area to install it for our exercise and then conducting a Density Cone Penetrometer test on the soil to see if the soil is good enough to support the MAAS.” 

The exercise concluded on Nov. 17, 2023, and provided valuable training and experience for the 14th Civil Engineering Squadron. 

Engineers Lead the Way.