274th ASOS Branches Out

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Duane Morgan
  • 174th Fighter Wing
Hancock Field's 274th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) recently participated in a demanding five-day exercise at Ft. Drum to hone their close air support (CAS) command, control and coordination skills. The exercise included Army and Marine units, making it the first time that the three branches participated in a joint combat control exercise at Ft. Drum.

"Spending five days together in an austere environment with Army and Marine combat troops allowed our Airmen to learn a lot about what to expect in future exercises and deployments," said Master Sgt. Glen Huegel, 274th ASOS Chief of Scheduling. "This exercise helped refine our combat control skills and helped build confidence in knowing that we can trust the Army and Marines to provide timely transport and attack resources in support of the mission."

The 274th Air Support Operations Squadron deploys with Army and Marine combat units to provide command, control, and coordination of CAS aircraft. Ft. Drum's rolling, heavily wooded terrain is similar to what U.S. troops encounter in Afghanistan, making the installation an ideal place to hold the exercise.

Twenty-three servicemen all told participated in the exercise, including 12 Airmen from the 274th. The training consisted of Marine and Army ground troops working with air support. Live weapons were used in the exercise such as Mark-82's, high explosive rockets, 7.62mm guns, 20mm guns and 50 cal. guns. The branches worked together doing 10 hour daily shifts. Airmen worked from the ground with support from fixed wing and rotary winged support. Roughly 10,000 pounds of ordinance was dropped during the exercise.

274th combat controllers were flown in Marine helicopters to observation points at the Ft. Drum range. Once in the observation area the Airmen could contact the helicopter if emergency evacuation was needed. The ranks of the individuals participating in the exercise ranged from A1C to Lt. Colonel. There weren't any major problems with the exercise, according to 274th ASOS Director of Operations Maj. Anthony Pasquale. "Considering that this was the first time we conducted this type of joint exercise, things actually went pretty smoothly."