PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Florida --
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Florida—Airmen from the 107th Fighter Squadron out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., joined 920th Rescue Wing Airmen during two-week exercise, Operation Space Coast, here Jan. 22 – Feb. 2, 2018.
A major component of the exercise involved multi-airframe combat search and rescue training between aircrew flying the 107th’s A-10 Thunderbolt IIs airplanes and the 301st’s HH-60 Pavehawks helicopters.
“In Michigan during the winter months it becomes difficult to train due to the weather, and this year we joined Airmen here at Patrick Air Force Base to ensure our pilots remain current with their training requirements,” said Capt. Jason Davenport, A-10 pilot from the 107th FS. “It also gave us an opportunity to train out of our comfort zones, in new environments and with people we could be working with during future operations.”
Part of the training involved simulating a downed pilot behind enemy lines, where four A-10s and an HH-60 responded for rescue efforts. According to Davenport, all units involved wanted to keep the exercise as real and as safe as possible. However, no live ammunition was used during the training.
“Training with the aircrew from the 301st Rescue Squadron provided outstanding training because it is hard to simulate protecting a helicopter back home,” Davenport added.
While here, pilots from the 107th FS practiced aerial refueling with aircrew flying KC-135 Stratotankers from the 171st Air Refueling Squadron, Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The 107th FS also provided close air support for ground forces.
According to Maj. Rob Baker, HH-60 pilot from the 301st RQS, training with other units enhances combat search and rescue scenarios because it is more effective than simulating aerial assets.
Both pilots agreed the training was a success and built stronger relations in an already close community.
“The training went great, and we accomplish what we set out to,” Davenport said. “We really appreciate the support of the Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing and look forward to working with them again. We do this type of training to ensure whenever we are called to bring home our brother or sister we are ready and effective.”