HomeNewsArticle Display

Triple Nickels kick-off exercise African Lion 2019 with a roar

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Quincey Watts, a 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-16C Fighting Falcon pilot, exits his aircraft during exercise African Lion 2019 at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, March 25, 2019.

1st Lt. Quincey Watts, 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-16C Fighting Falcon pilot, exits his aircraft during exercise African Lion 2019 at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, March 25, 2019. The exercise was designed to strengthen military relationships with allies and partners while increasing interoperability. African Lion 2019 is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, U.S. Africa Command-scheduled, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa-led, joint and combined exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Morocco and in Tunisia, and armed forces participants in from Canada, France, Senegal, Spain, and the U.K. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ceaira Tinsley)

F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron rest on the flight line during exercise African Lion 2019 at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco.

F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron rest on the flight line during exercise African Lion 2019 at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, March 25, 2019. The squadron deployed out of the 31st Fighter Wing, Avaino AB, Italy. African Lion 2019 is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, U.S. Africa Command-scheduled, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa-led, joint and combined exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Morocco and in Tunisia, and armed forces participants in from Canada, France, Senegal, Spain, and the U.K. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ceaira Tinsley)

Four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise African Lion 2019 at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco.

Four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise African Lion 2019 at Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco, March 25, 2019. African Lion 2019 is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, U.S. Africa Command-scheduled, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa-led, joint and combined exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Morocco and in Tunisia, and armed forces participants in from Canada, France, Senegal, Spain, and the U.K. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ceaira Tinsley)

BEN GUERIR AIR BASE, MOROCCO (AFNS) --

Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing and Royal Moroccan Air Force conduct F-16 aviation training during exercise African Lion 2019, March 25-April 3, at Ben Guerir Air Base.

African Lion 2019 is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, U.S. Africa Command-scheduled, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa-led, joint and combined exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Morocco and in Tunisia, and armed forces participants in from Canada, France, Senegal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The exercise involves various types of training, including a combined joint-task-force command-post exercise, aviation training exercise, field training exercise, maritime training exercise, and humanitarian civic assistance, with a focus on transnational threats, regional cooperation and cyber security and defense.

“We’re focused mostly on the aviation training exercise, which is a small portion of the overall exercise,” said Lt. Col. Beau Diers, 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. “Large force employment exercises (like this) are great for pilot development.

“Participating in these types of exercises provides a training opportunity for our pilots to get them outside of their comfort zone,” Diers added. “A new location, a new airspace and talking to new people on the radio are all just invaluable experiences.”

The annually-scheduled, combined multilateral exercise is designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nations’ tactics, techniques, procedures while demonstrating the strong bond between the nations’ militaries.

“The training has been great,” Diers said. “The air space and range they have provided are for full-scale weapons deliveries, which provide us with an opportunity that we do not get to train on a regular basis, so we’re super happy with the support they’ve given us.”

Throughout the exercise, U.S. and Moroccan F-16s conducted basic surface attacks and large-force employments, including inert GBU-24 Paveway III and GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs used for the first time in Morocco.

“The flying has been awesome,” said Capt. Megan Hainline, the 555th EFS F-16C Fighting Falcon flight lead. “They have gotten some ranges setup so that we can shoot the gun and drop bombs we do not normally get to drop.

“Working with the Moroccans has been pretty awesome,” Hainline added. “It’s always surprising when you go to another country, and although English is their third language, you still speak the same language when you get into tactics and briefing missions.”

With a new setting, the pilots navigated a new airspace and operating systems, but Hainline believes the changes enhanced the teams flying capabilities while fostering an invaluable relationship with the Moroccans.

“For any partner that we work with through the military, it is awesome to get real-world experience working directly with them,” Hainline said. “The personal relationships that we are building with their pilots and maintainers are really important moving forward, because now I know them and they’re familiar faces.“

Not only did the exercise provide a new training environment for the F-16 pilots, but it also provided a unique learning experience for the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

“This is a good experience for them to get used to what it’s going to be like when we deploy downrange,” said Master Sgt. Aaron Childs, 555th AMU productions superintendent. “It’s a good teamwork and team-building opportunity for them to see what it’s like to be one team-one fight. (Ultimately) it’s definitely a leadership opportunity for all levels of people to learn how to lead because we’re dealing with some adversity that we do not deal with every day.”

In order to keep the F-16s flying, the maintenance Airmen conducted 24-hour operations while balancing the extreme temperatures in the day and frigid temperatures at night.

“So far they have done very well and we haven't had any major issues,” Childs said. “We’re having to keep everything short and sweet; turn over has to be precise and quick. When we’re getting the pilots the jets they ask for every day, everything has been safe and reliable.”

Despite the successes of his maintenance crew, Childs reminds his Airmen to always be ready for the unexpected because a resilient mindset is what it will take to keep the F-16s in the air throughout the exercise.

“As a project officer, I planned for this exercise for months and I tried to plan every detail and scenario,” Childs added. “It’s been day-by-day that we’re learning new ways to do things and dealing with new difficulties; so it is best is to just expect the unexpected, keep your head (in the game), and do well.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @DefenseOne: JOIN US TODAY @ 2 P.M. ET when our “State of Defense” series continues with a live interview featuring U.S. Air Force Chief…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Teaching service members how to effectively shoot weapons. That’s the job of Combat Arms Training and Management. Watch…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team - 25 years ago today, we lost 24 U.S. & Canadian Airmen in the Yukla 27 crash. It was a surveillance training so…
Twitter
Taking care of Airmen and their families! https://t.co/AVeidzDPcV
Twitter
Wherever Airmen go, the Federal Voting Assistance Program ensures their voice is heard. @FVAP works to ensure servi… https://t.co/tkJts1yo3Z
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: For #HispanicHeritageMonth, we're celebrating the stories of Hispanic & Latino Airmen! @188thWG SSgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez…
Twitter
#TotalForce Airmen participate in night operations during a base-wide, total force exercise @HAFB. Airmen & pilots… https://t.co/kJYNKwHY7n
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: California fires/smoke no match for UTA Airmen - https://t.co/pJysQ6snRh (Story by the @940Wing) #ReserveReady #ReserveRes
Twitter
Whistleblowers are NOT insider threats. Learn the difference and how you can appropriately report questionable gove… https://t.co/AaTvBfHcTv
Twitter
SrA Denise Arabie, 319th Operations Support Squadron radar approach controller @319thRW, describes the importance o… https://t.co/zkwMx6Qw3i
Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,281,142
Follow Us