Hurlburt Field supports Agile Flag 21 with FARP operations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joseph P. LeVeille
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

The deafening roar of jet engines fill the air as Airmen work diligently to refuel the jet. Airmen hustling, all actively working together to get the F-15E Strike Eagles refueled, rearmed and back into the air.

Airmen with the 366th Fighter Wing from Mountain Home Air Force Base, worked in cooperation with Airmen from the Emerald Coast during Agile Flag 21-1, an exercise designed to improve real life response time and preparation for a forward arming and refueling point.

“The reason FARP is necessary is because aircraft can only fly so far,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeryme Butters, FARP program manager with the 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron. “Having a FARP allows us to refuel our aircraft closer to the objective and without us they can have a hard time getting to where they need to go.”

Forward arming and refueling points can be set up anywhere with suitable landing conditions and allow aircraft to be refueled and rearmed without shutting the aircraft off, increasing time efficiency and mission effectiveness.

“For us here in Air Force Special Operations Command, we found an opportunity to work with the 366th Fighter Wing and their F-15E Strike Eagles in order to advance combat deployment goals, which gave us in AFSOC a chance to share our specialized experience in these types of fueling operations,” said Lt. Col. Michael Savage, chief of tactics development with the 492nd Special Operations Training Group.

Hurlburt Field was chosen as the forward operating base for Agile Flag 21-1 due to its runway size, location and ability to accommodate the desired learning objectives for the exercise

“A forward aerial refueling point has traditionally been something unique to helicopters and CV-22s,” said Savage. “But now we are going back to the acronym of the 90s, which is forward arming and refueling point in order to advance specialized fueling operations which is AFSOC’s quest in pathfinding for the Air Force.”

They are finding a way to land an MC-130J Commando II with equipment and maintainers to rearm and refuel aircraft at the same time, whenever and wherever we can, he said.

Airmen with the 366th FW and 389th Fighter Squadron from Mountain Home AFB worked in coordination with Airmen across Hurlburt AFB and Eglin AFB throughout the exercise, including AFSOC, 1st SOLRS, 14th Weapons Squadron, 492nd Special Operations Training Group, and the 417th Flight Test Squadron.

“Without Team Hurlburt we wouldn’t have this exercise, period,” said Savage.