34th Special Operations Squadron exercises agile combat employment at Maxwell

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Greydon Furstenau
  • Air University Public Affairs

The 34th Special Operations Squadron from Hurlburt Field, Florida, staged a culmination exercise with its U-28A Draco aircraft from March 27-April 1, 2022, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Maxwell provided staging and logistics support for the weeklong exercise, which helped validate the squadron’s tactics, techniques and procedures before deploying to different areas of responsibility in mid-May.
“The CULEX prepared the members of the 34th SOS for their upcoming deployment and simulated off-station procedures,” said Capt. Rey Toledo, a U-28A instructor pilot with the 34th SOS. “The exercise also validated tactics, techniques and procedures, gauged team readiness and presented opportunities for mission commanders to leverage their deployed teams.”
The 34th SOS used this opportunity with Maxwell to test the abilities of their mission commanders to operate off-station. The exercise also presented an opportunity for mission commanders to interact and coordinate with outside agencies.

“I believe this was a mutually beneficial partnership with the 1st Special Operations Wing and the 42nd Air Base Wing for a few reasons. Anytime we can bring aircraft and units to Maxwell, this gives us an opportunity to showcase the base and Montgomery,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Milligan, 42nd Operations Support Squadron commander. “Their unit was looking for a relatively unknown base from which to operate, I wanted to give our Airmen more air traffic to support, and we were able to exercise our ability to solve problems with limited space and resources to execute their mission.”

The U-28A provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of special operations forces. The plane also maintains an advanced radio communications suite capable of establishing Department of Defense and NATO data links, full video, data and video communications.  

There will be a second culmination exercise on April 10, 2022, at Maxwell. The exercise will remain the same but different members will attend the second iteration.

“Maxwell’s role in this exercise has given us an opportunity to plan and execute agile combat employment concepts that will allow us to effectively employ that on the battlefield,” said Lt. Col. Jacob Fisher, 34th SOS operations officer. “We really appreciate all the support from the 42nd Air Base Wing, 42nd Operations Support Squadron and Air University in making sure that we have what we needed to make this a success.” 

The unit’s abilities will be validated under the new Special Operations Force Generation model. SOFORGEN is the current Air Expeditionary Force construct. It is a 20-month cycle, with four, five-month phases of readiness.
“We look forward to a likely enduring partnership with AFSOC and AETC. With the re-mission of the 908th Airlift Wing, we want other units around the Air Force to consider Maxwell. We have the airspace and ramp space to accommodate many customers, and a wing with a ‘Just Do Right’ attitude,” said Milligan.