NEVADA TEST AND TRAINING RANGE: For 54 hours straight, more than 250 U.S. and British airmen worked in unison here March 14 through 16, against a series of simulated hostile threats.
Through suicide bombers and insurgent attacks, members shared tactics, techniques and procedures to repel enemy forces.
Though these simulated events were part of the first Desert Eagle exercise, they were modeled after what could happen downrange.
“Desert Eagle was designed to help with the exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures between U.S. and U.K. forces,” said Col. Joseph D’Amico, the 822nd Base Defense Squadron commander from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. “We’ve trained with British (airmen), so this was a great opportunity to further strengthen that relationship. Through this exchange, we increased the proficiency of our combat skills and enhanced the interoperability of our forces with theirs.”
During the exercise, both U.S. and British forces acted as base defenders as well as hostile local nationals, as the three flights rotated through nine-hour shifts.
Before the beginning of the 54-hour exercise, the U.S. and British service members spent a few days getting familiarized with different training scenarios. This included a seven-mile ruck march, a pop-up target shooting competition and a two-mile litter carry.
“The terrain here much more resembles being in an actual desert than the land around Moody,” said Capt. Tyler McSpadden, the 822nd BDS intelligence officer in charge. “When developing the scenarios for the exercise, both we and the British kept in mind what we’ve seen downrange. We wanted the scenarios to directly mirror those experiences so that we get the maximum training value from our time here.”
While this was the first Desert Eagle, the U.S. members have worked with members from England in the past.
“We’ve worked with them before, but it wasn’t this in-depth,” said Master Sgt. Dean Mays, the 822nd BDS operations superintendent. “It’s the first time the squads and leadership have been fully integrated. Exercising together at this level allows us to share new tactics, techniques and procedures.”
Flight Lt. (Capt.) Jonathan Jarris, a British joint intelligence officer who was heavily involved with planning the exercise, spoke of the value of sharing training, techniques and procedures during the exercise.
“I’m very pleased with the way this training went,” he said. “We got the perfect opportunity to see how each other works and we’ll be able to take those lessons back and discuss them.
“Our troops also had the opportunity to see how their weapons work in a desert environment,” he added. “Almost everything in England is green so their weapons might operate differently with the heat and the dust.”