MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga: Members of the 74th Fighter Squadron here recently produced a total of 205 sorties while conducting surge operations April 26 through 28.
The squadron’s main focus during the surge operations was to test their capability to produce as many sorties as possible within the three-day span and to simulate pilots’ wartime flying rates. A successfully generated flight is considered to be a single sortie.
“Conducting surge operations is a great opportunity to build morale while at the same time preparing our personnel for deployments,” said Capt. Jeremy Jacobson, the 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. “In addition, it helps increase flying hours and sorties as well as pushes the limits of pilots, maintainers and support functions.”
The original goal of the surge was to produce 138 sorties.
“I’ve been flying this jet since 1996, and I’ve never seen a unit produce this many sorties,” said Lt. Col. James Clark, the 74th Fighter Squadron commander and A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot.
To accomplish the 205 sorties, each pilot spent at least five hours per day flying the aircraft.
“Most pilots were flying three lines a day and would turn over the aircraft so another pilot could fly two more sorties,” Captain Jacobson said. “It’s so impressive to have observed the continuous efforts of everyone to help generate as many sorties as possible.”
The surge was not only a test to see how many sorties could be produced, but also a learning tool for maintainers as well.
“It is an opportunity for maintainers to test their learned skills,” said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Townes Jr., the 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. “When they see the number of aircraft they launched during the three days, they see the fruits of their labor and realize how vital they are to the mission. It also reminds them that as a team they can accomplish anything.”
Although the surge lasted for only three days, it took two months of preparation to organize the event.
“We made sure that everyone was up to date in all of their training,” Captain Jacobson said. “All of our A-10s also went through early maintenance so they would be ready to fly during the three days.”
After the successful three days and months of planning, Captain Jacobson said it was the hard work and dedication that made the execution of the surge possible.
“We have far exceeded our goals and I want to thank everyone for their hard work,” he said.
The 74th FS will use the surge operations event as a template for the upcoming Phase II Operational Readiness Exercises.