Atlantic Strike III provides realistic deployment training

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

Hundreds of troops from all branches of the military gathered March 27 to 31 at Avon Park, Fla., to train and prepare joint air and ground troops for future deployments.

Atlantic Strike II provided realistic deployment preparation to more than 250 servicemembers. The training allowed servicemembers to engage in realistic urban close-air support training for aircrews. Joint terminal attack controllers were able to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for maximum effectiveness on future missions in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

“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, 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.”

Although this deployment preparation focuses on troops soon deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, many of the JTACs have a significant amount of operational experience in those countries. Their personal experience has helped shape the scenarios they’ve encountered during OIF and OEF.

"The scenarios replicated here will enable the aircrews and ground forces to work together more effectively in the (area of responsibility) in the future," Major Schollmeyer said.

"Training JTACs in this realistic environment provides experience, which is critical to arming them with the experience needed to be successful in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Tech. Sgt. Travis Crosby a JTAC with the 15th Air Support Operations Squadron.

“Today's battles can not be won with just air or ground forces. Because of this, sister-service participation in this deployment preparation is crucial. Otherwise the realism would not be possible,” Major Schollmeyer said.

Multiple units participating in Atlantic Strike III include a 42-man Army Scout Team, a team of Marine JTACs, aircrew from the Navy's P-3 Orion and several Air Force aircrews from around the country.

"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.