Holloman Airmen participate in ACE Reaper 23.6

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Paczkowski
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from Holloman Air Force Base’s 9th and 29th Aircraft Maintenance Units participated in Agile Combat Employment Reaper 23.6 at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, Feb. 14 to 16, 2023.
During the exercise, Holloman maintainers were under the guidance of Airmen from both Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., and Creech AFB, Nevada, to gain proficiency with Portable Aircraft Control Stations to enable airfield operations. 
“Being able to work alongside Creech and Cannon Airmen benefits our maintainers a lot,” said
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Julius Castillo, 29th AMU productions superintendent. “The Airmen from Creech were able to record any difficulties that we ran into during the exercise and the Cannon maintainers provided insight into the PACS and Satcom Launch and Recovery.”
The PACS was used in conjunction with SLR, which allows maintainers to conduct all pre-flight checks as well as take off and land from remote locations. This was the first off-station SLR takeoff and landing while the sensor operators and pilots are still at Holloman AFB.
This exercise was coordinated between the 6th ATKS and MCAGCC at Twentynine Palms as the host location. The MCAGCC also played a pivotal role in the exercise by providing CH-53E Super Stallions helicopters to help load and off-load equipment to simulate island hopping in the Pacific.
The change in location for the MQ-9s and the Marines’ joint coordination and participation in the exercise provided great opportunities for the aircrew back at Holloman to experience new challenges and joint operations.
“Being able to use PACS and SLR changes the way that we fight,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Conover, 6th Attack Squadron assistant operations officer. “This is just one of the options that we have for training because it feels real for our Airmen.”
With Holloman Airmen being able to work with new equipment, such as the PACS, working with different branches and other air force bases allows them to become more proficient at their jobs.
The maintainers that were able to participate in this exercise and bring back the knowledge to others are the ones that help the 49th Wing mission of building combat aircrew and multi-capable Airmen.