SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Members from the 52nd Fighter Wing conducted a verification event at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Dec. 1 – 8, 2017.
The final Mission Qualification Training required for designation as a Combat Mission Ready pilot is a verification, and at Spangdahlem it offered the 52nd Operations Group and 52nd Maintenance Group an opportunity to test European Command and United States Air Forces in Europe readiness while providing lessons learned for higher headquarters.
“This verification, in particular, is going to be quite a bit more intense than almost any other verification I have seen.” said Capt. Daniel Duncan, 52nd Operations Support Squadron chief of wing weapons and tactics. “We will be having the number one leading subject matter expert in all of the Department of Defense for each section. This type of training happens once in a pilot’s career, and verifiers usually do not get this level of opportunity.”
During the verification, eight pilots and two intelligence analysts undergo a week-long academic series taught by DOD experts, including guest briefers from EUCOM Plans and Operations Center, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Missile and Space Intelligence Center, National Ground Intelligence Center, USAFE’s Tactics Adversary Studies Element, and 52nd Fighter Wing Weapons School graduates.
The training includes a total of 21 hours of academic courses. These courses cover friendly weapon systems and tactics, friendly Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform capabilities, enemy Integrated Air Defense System, Surface-to-Air Missile Systems capabilities and employment, and EUCOM Operations Plan academics.
Following academics, verifiers are presented with a tactical problem, one of USAFE’s most challenging missions, and given 12 hours to solve it together. The following day, pilots fly the scenario in a simulator to extract key lessons for tactical and operational planners.
“The verification offers some of the best training short of real-world conflict for our pilots and intelligence analysts,” said Maj. Christina Sheets, 52nd OSS senior intelligence officer. “Every aspect of the scenario is crafted to make them think through difficult decisions before they face them on the battlefield, where fog and friction sets in.”
The event ends with a final two-hour verification exercise where members demonstrate their knowledge and share their experiences. Col. Jason Bailey, the board president and 52nd Fighter Wing commander, gets the opportunity to test the participant’s knowledge and expose shortfalls. In the end, the board president has the option to pass or fail the participants.
“The final verification exercise is unique in that the team employed unfamiliar weapons against the most advanced adversary surface-to-air missile, utilizing tactics that have not even been published yet,” Duncan said.
Since all individuals from the verification received a passing score, seven more pilots are now CMR certified and capable of going to combat.
“I'm incredibly proud of the effort, innovation, and determination these pilots and analysts showed this week,” Duncan said. “I believe their efforts here will make a theater-wide impact for combatant commanders in USAFE.”