Training scenarios abound during Atlantic Strike III

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Tiffany Payette
  • U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs

Slowly walking through a quiet, deserted city, hearing nothing but your thoughts, you take a long, deep breath. Then, chaos suddenly breaks loose. An explosion throws you to the ground. The smell of smoke rushes through your nose and dust and sand cut through your skin. You immediately look for your troops. The look of shock is displayed on their faces. Quickly gathering your thoughts, you get up and get into position to identify and find the enemy before calling in close-air support.

This may sound like a scenario occurring in Iraq -- in fact it may be -- but from March 27 to 31 this was Atlantic Strike III in Avon Park, a 106,000-acre bomb range in south central Florida. Hundreds of servicemembers from all military branches gathered to train and prepare joint air and ground troops for future deployments.

“Mission reports from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom allow us to create training scenarios, which simulate urban combat operations found in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Maj. Jeff Schollmeyer, director of Atlantic Strike III. “Most of the use of precision engagement occurs in cities and towns in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, stressing the importance of training in urban CAS.”

The goals of Atlantic Strike III allow servicemembers to engage in realistic urban CAS training for aircrews and joint terminal attack controllers to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for maximum effectiveness on future missions in OIF and OEF.

"With the safety of our troops always in our minds, the participation, dedication and efforts put forth, at Avon Park, by all branches of the armed forces make ASIII the largest and most joint deployment training operation to date," Major Schollmeyer said.