52nd Civil Engineer Airmen enhance ACE skillset, attend Silver Flag training course

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Levi Rowse
  • 52nd Fighter Wing

The 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron participated in a modified Silver Flag training course May 13-14 to enhance their Airmen’s Agile Combat Employment capabilities.

ACE is a concept of operations that envisions the use of agile operations to generate resilient airpower in a contested environment, thus enhancing the ability to deter, defend and win across the spectrum of conflict.

“ACE requires Saber Airmen to be able to accomplish a multitude of tasks, no matter the location, often without the same resources or support available at Spangdahlem,” said Maj. Christian Hamilton, 52nd Fighter Wing lead ACE planner. “This drives the need for our Airmen to be multi-capable, meaning they can proficiently accomplish given tasks outside of their primary specialty.”

Spangdahlem Air Base was the first wing in U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa to announce ACE Initial Operational Capability April 23, six months ahead of schedule.

Silver Flag is run by the 435th Construction and Training Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and is USAFE’s premiere contingency readiness training for military civil engineers.

The 435th CTS’ objective is to train total force civil engineer, force support, and logistics readiness Airmen on more than 200 war-time tasks in support of worldwide contingency operations, and Ramstein is one of only three sites in the Air Force that hosts Silver Flag training.

The 435th CTS was the first to develop and execute a coronavirus-safe course and continue producing contingency-ready Airmen during the global pandemic.

“We pride ourselves on executing realistic training scenarios in an effort to prepare our students for war-time circumstances,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Hall, 435th CTS emergency services contingency training section chief. “Personnel from around the world network and come together as a team in our Silver Flag courses, simulating a deployed environment.”

The Spangdahlem Airmen who attended Silver Flag focused on Rapid Airfield Damage Repair.

“RADR, along with a sort-of-modified bare base buildup, where we start with an airstrip and build it up to an airpower producing location, is how we fit into the 52nd Fighter Wing’s overall ACE capability,” said Tech Sgt. Marcus Collins, 52nd CES Energy Management Control Systems NCO in charge. “It allows us to ensure we can push out to multiple locations in Europe, continue to generate sorties and eliminate threats.”

 “Everyone we are sending over to Ramstein to work with the 435th CTS will come back to us as multi-capable Airmen; they’ll be experts in their primary duties and also proficient in all aspects of Rapid Airfield Damage Repair,” said 1st Lt. Kathryn Jaquish, 52nd CES Requirements and Optimization officer in charge. “If we have a real-life situation where the airfield is damaged and needs to be repaired, we operate like an assembly line, each of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron executes their mission, and we get the airfield up and running again very quickly.”

The skills learned at Silver Flag are critical to the civil engineer’s war-time missions of setting up and operating contingency air bases and recovering air fields after an attack. Without the ability to launch and recover aircraft from an austere or contested environment, the U.S. Air Force would be severely limited as to where and when it could engage the enemy.

The 52nd Fighter Wing’s strength is derived from their ability to project air power, and the foundation of that strength is provided by the men and women honing their ACE capabilities at Silver Flag.