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Incirlik Air Base ACE program reaches one-year milestone

Airmen with rifles exiting aircraft.

Airmen assigned to the 39th Security Forces Squadron practice exfiltration procedures from a C-130J Super Hercules during an Agile Combat Employment training exercise at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Aug. 6, 2021. ACE training provides Airmen with cross-functional skills to guarantee their ability to rapidly deploy and maneuver throughout the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Derek Seifert)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

The 39th Air Base Wing recently reached the one-year mark with its Agile Combat Employment training program, Aug. 28, 2021. 

Incilrlik Air Base started its ACE program last year as part of the Air Force initiative to develop and maintain a lean force of multi-capable Airmen, ensuring a fast, efficient response to evolving threats.  

“The program has definitely grown since last year,” said Capt. Seth White, 39th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations and ACE program lead. “We went from offering recurring tactical training for small groups of Airmen to actually sending cross-functional teams on training missions to our geographically separated units. Now we’ve even been able to incorporate aircraft to offer more hands-on experience and train our teams to support air and other forward-deployed operations.”

Col. Jason Gingrich, 39th ABW commander, said the ACE concept is a major benefit to commanders because it teaches Airmen to adapt quickly to various mission requirements and reduces the footprint on the battlefield.  

“In some cases, our Airmen may be asked to perform tasks outside of their day-to-day mission functions without the benefit of additional manpower,” he explained. “So now, more than ever, it is essential that we train them properly and teach them as much as we can so they remain ready when called upon.”

Gingrich also underscored the importance of the ACE concept specifically for the 39th ABW.

“Because of our strategic location here in Turkey, we can be called upon to support operations in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command areas of responsibility with little to no notice,” Gingrich added. “What we’re doing with the ACE program and the training events is building force multipliers. Our missions and battlefields are constantly evolving so we need Airmen who are capable of adjusting on the fly and executing the mission without sacrificing combat effectiveness.”

Nearly one year after Incirlik AB’s first ACE training event, Airmen from the 39th Security Forces Squadron, the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 39th Communications Squadron teamed up for another training event, Aug. 6, 2021. 

This time, the 39th ABW partnered with air crew members and loadmasters from a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. This latest iteration of training enabled participants to apply ACE concepts to cargo aircraft, a rare opportunity since the 39th ABW has no permanently assigned flying units.   

“It’s just something we don’t do every day,” said White.

The 39th ABW will continue to develop the ACE concept to make Titan Airmen more agile in their execution, more strategic in their deterrence, and more resilient in their capability. Agility, deterrence and resiliency are essential to operational capability in any environment, particularly when being tasked with defending NATO’s southern flank.