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Holloman hosts air-to-ground integration exercise

2nd Lt. Caleb, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer student, observes a simulated exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The CRO specialty includes direct combatant command and control of Combat Search and Rescue operations, an operational skillset that parallels that of the enlisted pararescuemen and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

2nd Lt. Caleb, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer student, observes a simulated exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The CRO specialty includes direct combatant command and control of Combat Search and Rescue operations, an operational skillset that parallels that of the enlisted pararescuemen and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. Joey (left), 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper evaluator pilot, and Tech Sgt. Nicholas (right), 6th ATKS MQ-9 sensor operator instructor, simulate an exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Holloman hosted 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer students from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., March 12-14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. Joey (left), 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper evaluator pilot, and Tech Sgt. Nicholas (right), 6th ATKS MQ-9 sensor operator instructor, simulate an exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Holloman hosted 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer students from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., March 12-14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Senior Airman Leodan, 7th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller, demonstrates how to call in an air strike for members of the 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The combat rescue officer students are getting this familiarization and level of training because they might find themselves in a situation where they need to bring close air support on a mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Senior Airman Leodan, 7th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller, demonstrates how to call in an air strike for members of the 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The combat rescue officer students are getting this familiarization and level of training because they might find themselves in a situation where they need to bring close air support on a mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

1st Lt. Aleksandr, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer student, observes a simulated exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The MQ-9 is an armed, multi-mission remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily against execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

1st Lt. Aleksandr, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer student, observes a simulated exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The MQ-9 is an armed, multi-mission remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily against execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Tech Sgt. Nicholas, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator instructor, simulates an exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. As part of the exercise, MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators executed close air support, while the combat rescue officer students practiced calling in air strikes as a non-qualified joint terminal attack controller. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Tech Sgt. Nicholas, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator instructor, simulates an exercise, March 13, 2019, at the 16th Training Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. As part of the exercise, MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators executed close air support, while the combat rescue officer students practiced calling in air strikes as a non-qualified joint terminal attack controller. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Tech. Sgt. Joaquin, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator instructor, coordinates with the pilot during an exercise over Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support and combat search and rescue are only a few of the missions and tasks the MQ-9 can perform. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Tech. Sgt. Joaquin, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator instructor, coordinates with the pilot during an exercise over Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support and combat search and rescue are only a few of the missions and tasks the MQ-9 can perform. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. David (left), 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, and  Tech. Sgt. Joaquin, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator instructor, provide close air support over Red Rio Range, N.M., during an exercise, March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. During the exercise, combat rescue officer students applied their training in a simulated deployed environment on Red Rio Range, N.M., by communicating with an actual MQ-9 overhead. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. David (left), 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, and Tech. Sgt. Joaquin, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator instructor, provide close air support over Red Rio Range, N.M., during an exercise, March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. During the exercise, combat rescue officer students applied their training in a simulated deployed environment on Red Rio Range, N.M., by communicating with an actual MQ-9 overhead. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. David, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, flies over Red Rio Range, N.M., during an exercise, March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Reapers are heavily involved in most special operations forces’ missions including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support and combat search and rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. David, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot, flies over Red Rio Range, N.M., during an exercise, March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Reapers are heavily involved in most special operations forces’ missions including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support and combat search and rescue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. David, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot and, flies over Red Rio Range, N.M., during an exercise, March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Asche said the exercise was important exposure for the combat rescue officer students to see how to interact with MQ-9s and also how to go through the procedures to enable the crew to help them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

Capt. David, 6th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper pilot and, flies over Red Rio Range, N.M., during an exercise, March 14, 2019, at the 6th Attack Squadron on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Asche said the exercise was important exposure for the combat rescue officer students to see how to interact with MQ-9s and also how to go through the procedures to enable the crew to help them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lts. Damian (left) and William (right), 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer students, train with tactical air control party members, assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, on calling in close air support and nine lines on Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019. The CROs and TACPs worked with MQ-9 Reapers from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to simulate real world scenarios and improve communication with the pilots. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by  Senior Airman Haley Phillips)
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U.S. Air Force 2nd Lts. Damian (left) and William (right), 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer students, train with tactical air control party members, assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, on calling in close air support and nine lines on Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019. The CROs and TACPs worked with MQ-9 Reapers from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to simulate real world scenarios and improve communication with the pilots. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Phillips)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. William, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer student, trains with tactical air control party members, assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, on calling in close air support and nine lines on Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019. The CROs and TACPs worked with MQ-9 Reapers from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to simulate real world scenarios and improve communication with the pilots. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley D. Phillips)
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U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. William, 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer student, trains with tactical air control party members, assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, on calling in close air support and nine lines on Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019. The CROs and TACPs worked with MQ-9 Reapers from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to simulate real world scenarios and improve communication with the pilots. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley D. Phillips)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lts. Damian (left) and William (right), 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer students, train with tactical air control party members, assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, on calling in close air support and nine lines on Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019. The CROs and TACPs worked with MQ-9 Reapers from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to simulate real world scenarios and improve communication with the pilots. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by  Senior Airman Haley Phillips)
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U.S. Air Force 2nd Lts. Damian (left) and William (right), 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron combat rescue officer students, train with tactical air control party members, assigned to the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron, on calling in close air support and nine lines on Red Rio Range, N.M., March 14, 2019. The CROs and TACPs worked with MQ-9 Reapers from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to simulate real world scenarios and improve communication with the pilots. Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Phillips)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Editor's note: Last names have been withheld due to operational security restraints.

Holloman hosted combat rescue officers from the 351st Special Warfare Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, March 12-14, 2019.

In pursuit of developing a more innovative and lethal force, the CRO students participated in an exercise alongside a team of MQ-9 Reaper pilots and sensor operators from the 6th Attack Squadron here and a joint terminal attack controller from the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron on Fort Bliss, Texas, as part of the air-to-ground integration phase of their training at the 351st SWTS.

The CRO specialty includes direct combatant command and control of combat search and rescue operations, an operational skillset that parallels that of the enlisted pararescuemen and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists. These three specialties make up Guardian Angel – a non-aircraft, equipment-based, human weapons system.

As part of the exercise, MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators executed close air support, while the CRO students practiced calling in air strikes as a non-qualified JTAC.

“At this time, Guardian Angel units do not have JTACS, so these students are getting this familiarization and level of training because they might find themselves in a situation where they need to bring close air support on a mission,” said Capt. Carl, 351st SWTS CRO instructor. “Someone on their team needs to have that training.”

From an MQ-9 simulator, the students were trained step by step on how to call-in air strikes by a certified JTAC instructor.

“Our students are officers and are expected to communicate in all settings, whether that’s in a briefing room or a tactical environment during a mission on the radio,” said Carl.“Part of that is communicating directly with aircraft for CAS.”

The MQ-9 is an armed, multi-mission remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily against execution targets and secondarily as an intelligence collection asset.

 “The purpose of this TDY was to provide CRO students training commensurate with their future battlefield responsibilities,” said Capt. Waseem, 351st SWTS Chief CRO instructor. “This is potentially the only time they will have CAS training with live aircraft before their first deployment to a combat zone.”

The students applied their training in a simulated deployed environment on Red Rio Range, New Mexico, communicating with an actual MQ-9 overhead.

“These individuals on the ground will be helping people in deployed operations and combat operations,” said Capt. David, 6th ATKS MQ-9 pilot. “It is exposure for them to see how to interact with MQ-9s and also how to go through the procedures to enable us to help them.”

Carl said Reapers are heavily involved across most special operations forces’ missions.

Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support and combat search and rescue are only a few of the missions and tasks the MQ-9 can perform.

“It is very important that we get our students exposed to working with (MQ-9s),” said Carl. “(Training to call in air strikes as a non-qualified JTAC) has not happened before, so it is exciting for the training squadron to be able to work with Holloman.”