Air Advisors take it to the Edge

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Victoria Jewett
  • 156th Wing

Several units and service branches partnered with Puerto Rico government and local agencies to conduct Advisor Edge 2023, a multi-unit exercise focused on maximizing capabilities and interoperability with partner nations, executed in San Juan, Aguadilla, and Ceiba, Puerto Rico from June 1-8.

The joint exercise was created by Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialists assigned to the 156th Tactical Advisory Squadron, the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron and the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, where participant units tested air advising skills to strengthen partnerships and overcome unique challenges, allowing burden sharing during peacetime, as well as wartime.

“Advisor Edge 2023 was specifically designed to test, train, and exercise Air Advisor readiness to adjust from peacetime operations, to Air Advisor operations across the continuum of conflict, from competition with our pacing challenge to a regional human-caused crisis or natural disaster, to include large scale combat operations during a conflict,” said Lt. Col. Brian Broekemeier the 156th TAS commander. “This exercise challenged our teams to adapt, and provided us the opportunity to test and evaluate some new team designs and communications equipment to get us ready to operate where and when we’re needed.”

The air advisory squadrons developed and aligned tactics, training, and procedures to shape future adaptation where they operated by, with, and through a simulated partner nation in scenarios of competition, crisis, and conflict.

“This exercise provided an unparalleled opportunity to focus on how we need to train, organize, equip, and sustain Air Advisors for operations in more austere and higher threat environments,” said Broekemeier. “If a crisis or conflict happens, other elements of U.S. forces will have to fight to get to the fight; we’ll already be there, side-by-side with our allies and partners to sustain integration during unified operations.”

Air Advisor teams demonstrated operational and tactical integration with a capable, trained and willing foreign security force, supporting U.S. and allied objectives through the familiarization of common operating areas such as cargo handling, airfield operations, marshaling, fuels, airfield assessment and communications.

“This exercise was a great opportunity to practice and demonstrate how Air Advisors can use partnerships to achieve objectives in places with minimal U.S. presence,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Gregory Marti, a SERE specialist with the 156th TAS. “In this scenario we have created a mutually beneficial relationship with a simulated partner nation to train, evaluate and utilize their air mobility capability throughout the spectrum of peacetime, crisis and conflict.”

The support of the Puerto Rico National Guard Army Aviation, U.S. Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Police Department, Fuerzas Unidas de Rápida Acción (FURA), Ceiba airport, as well as all other units and agencies involved ensured a successful training experience.

“We could not have built this elaborate scenario that included simulated U.S. partnerships, without building our own real-world partnerships with all the Advisor Edge supporting entities here in Puerto Rico,” said Marti. “It really was a win-win for everyone, being that all the organizations got some solid training value out of their participation, we hope to work alongside them in the future.”

Air Advisors help build global air, space, and cyber partnerships with counterparts in foreign security forces and apply their Air Force expertise to assess, train, educate, advise, assist, and equip partner nations, providing an effective and strategic response to rapidly evolving situations.