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Emerald Warrior produces historic FARP training in Alaska

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Marcel Williams
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Members from Cannon Air Force Base recently traveled to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to participate in forward area refueling point training Jan. 29, 2020.

Airmen from the 9th Special Operations Squadron, the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron and a Special Tactics team were all represented with the goal to refuel two F-22 Raptors from an MC-130J Commando II in arctic conditions.

“This is a really significant exercise for the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Will Herbert, 9th Special Operations Squadron assistant director of operations. “We have two different major commands, Air Combat Command and Special Operations Command, working together. This is going to give us a strategic level capability.” 

The cold environment made this FARP training specifically unique and was implemented to test the Air Force’s refueling capabilities in austere locations. FARP capabilities have predominantly been trained for and used in hot, desert-like conditions. However, training in all types of environments is paramount to success according to Herbert.

“This arctic environment is a whole new set of challenges,” Herbert said. “Hot, dry, that's got its own particular challenges - but cold and the precipitation cause both people and equipment to respond differently. It takes longer to operate. Airplanes behave differently as does the FARP equipment.”

By training in this type of environment, Herbert feels confident in the squadron’s ability to execute this artic refueling if they need to in the future.

“The training was successful and we accomplished what we came here for,” Herbert said. “We can take this back and fully flesh out a concept so when we do have to use it in a real world scenario we can rapidly pull that plan off the shelf and know that it's good to go.”