by Staff Sgt. Kris Levasseur
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
3/19/2015 - CAMPIA TURZII, Romania -- Airmen
from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing departed Ramstein Air Base,
Germany, March 10 for what seemed like any other training mission;
however, this mission known as Dacian Warhawk is unlike any other they
have participated in.
During the bilateral mission at Campia Turzii, Romania, the 435th AGOW
was afforded the opportunity to execute four of their distinct mission
sets, which make the wing unlike any other. These mission sets include,
expeditionary airfields on demand, multi-theater sustainment and
support, joint airpower integration and building partnership capacity.
Prior to Dacian Warhawk, these capabilities were executed individually
as the wing's groups performed their core missions. Dacian Warhawk
became a way for these AGOW units to come together and begin forming a
plan to streamline these capabilities efficiently.
Beyond incorporating the majority of the AGOW mission sets, Dacian
Warhawk also tested one of the wing's expeditionary capabilities in a
When providing expeditionary support, the 435th AGOW travels to austere
locations to establish an air base or airfield so mobility aircraft can
safely land and deliver follow-on forces. The mission is usually
short-term and the wing hands over control to the operational forces on
arrival. However, due to the nature of Dacian Warhawk, the support
mission continued throughout the nearly three-week event. Their goal is
to be able to perform these mission sets as turnkey operations to
provide the best operational support to fighter units possible.
"We have a tremendous amount of capabilities within the 435th AGOW ...
within the 435th Air and Space Communications Group, 4th Air Support
Operations Group and the 435th Contingency Response Group, but we've
never operated like this before," said Col. Steven Edwards, 435th
Contingency Response Group commander. "The Dacian Warhawk mission is
providing us an opportunity to expand the capabilities of the 435th AGOW
and work through our current procedures and establish new procedures to
be able to support this type of mission in the future."
Expanding the capabilities of the wing required some units to operate in
ways they never have, such as security forces personnel providing
continuous defense of the base and assets, but the AGOW was prepared.
Though the 435th AGOW Airmen have never operated in this manner, they
have been preparing for this type of mission for quite some time.
According to Capt. Craig Towlson, 435th AGOW chief of wing plans and
programs, Dacian Warhawk is the culmination of approximately a year of
brainstorming and six months of planning.
"Through internal planning and guidance from the wing commander, we
developed a concept to first bring the wing together, which started as a
table-top exercise in October 2013." said Towlson. "With the three
groups being operationally successful on their own, we wanted to achieve
success as one organization in order to provide our combatant commander
an option no other wing can provide. Built around Dacian Warhawk 2015,
the 52nd Fighter Wing's flying training deployment, we planned a
proof-of-concept training mission to capture the AGOW's capabilities in
direct support to fighter operations."
Because 435th AGOW leaders saw the need to actively exercise the wings
full capabilities to set up and maintain airfield and communications
operations for short-term missions, they also needed a way to plan and
evaluate their efforts.
"The wing plans and programs office was set up to track and plan current
and future operations like Dacian Warhawk," said Towlson. "We leverage
the expertise within each group and squadron to bring the wing together,
eliminating redundancies of our capabilities across the wing. Being on
the ground here in Romania will help us refine our proof of concept and
allow us to provide direct support to fighter squadrons in the future."
The plans and programs office is continuing to gather lessons learned
and refine 435th AGOW procedures to better suit mission needs, but
according to Towlson, so far this mission is a success.
"It's an outstanding feeling watching these Aircraft launch and realize
that we had a part in making it happen," said Edwards. "Whether it was
our aerial porters downloading vehicles and supplies, our medical
personnel supporting Airmen, our mobile aircraft arresting system
personnel protecting the jets, our joint terminal attack controllers on
the range, or our communication specialists establishing connectivity,
we all had a part supporting the flying mission."
Edwards added that without the help of the other Dacian Warhawk
participants, the 480th Fighter Squadron and Romanian Airmen at Campia
Turzii, the mission would not have gone as well.
As Dacian Warhawk continues, Airmen of the 435th AGOW will continue to
provide mission support to the 480th FS, while working closely with the
Romanian airmen to increase interoperability between both nations.