By Capt. Andrew Layton,
Michigan National Guard
MARQUETTE, Michigan - U.S. Air Force KC-135 aircraft from the 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, arrived at Sawyer International Airport June 27 to kick off Northern Agility 22-1, a total-force Agile Combat Employment exercise led by the Michigan Air National Guard.
Upon arrival, the tankers performed wet-wing defuel operations, supported by U.S. Army Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard’s 3-238th General Support Aviation Battalion, Grand Ledge Aviation Support Facility.
A wet-wing defuel transfers fuel from the wings of an aircraft to another expeditionary fuel bladder or a fuel truck while the engines run. A refueling aircraft can land in an austere environment, offload fuel using the aircraft pumps and take off with minimal time on the ground. Wet-wing refueling is often used for contingency operations under the U.S. Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment doctrine.
“Agile Combat Employment is the ability to project air power anytime, anywhere, in order to stay one step ahead of our adversaries,” said Lt. Col. Brian Wyrzykowski, lead operations planner for Northern Agility 22-1. “It’s about being able to execute missions quickly and in unpredictable ways.”
On June 29, Northern Agility 22-1 will showcase A-10 Thunderbolt II, Air Force Special Operations Command MC-12W, C-145A, C-146A and U-28A aircraft conducting ACE operations on a closed highway east of Munising. For the first time during highway-based operations, maintenance crews will perform a series of Integrated Combat Turns, which enable the fast rearming and refueling of a running jet to get the aircrew back in the air quickly.
During Northern Agility 22-1, the Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center will team with industry partners to demonstrate technologies for augmented reality to enhance the multicapable Airman concept, rapid integration of the command and control ecosystem, synthetic aperture radar, advanced threat detection and visualization and other capabilities.
“Northern Agility 22-1 would not be possible without the long-term partnerships that exist between the Michigan National Guard and the Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Transportation, Alger County Sheriff’s Office, and of course, support from our neighbors in the Upper Peninsula,” said Wyrzykowski.