by Senior Airman Kasey Phipps
137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
12/4/2015 - WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- Airmen
from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron here, remotely took part
in the world's largest modeling, simulation and training conference
Dec. 1-3, which was hosted more than 1,000 miles away in Orlando,
For the first time Airmen and retired service members from Oklahoma,
Iowa and Florida, remotely demonstrated the use of the Air National
Guard Advanced Joint Tactical Air Control Training Simulator as part of
the Distributed Training Operations Center's participation in the
Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.
"This is the first time that an Air National Guard unit has shown the
ability to do distributive training," said Master Sgt. Chris Johnson,
the contracted operator and maintainer for the simulator.
The squadron's participation with the DTOC is just the beginning of a
national trend, said Johnson. Joint Tactical Air Control units around
the nation are getting these simulators and will have the opportunity to
connect with other simulators for collaborative and interactive
The simulator and DTOC allow members - from different locations,
military branches and subject matters from around the world - to
coordinate operations in a single simulated location while never leaving
their respective bases and at the fraction of the cost of organizing a
"It gives local units the ability to bring outside players in to create a
more robust and realistic training," said Johnson, who, without the
DTOC, is tasked with creating scenarios and acting as the remote parties
that interact with Joint Tactical Air Controllers. "You're bringing in a
greater depth of knowledge and people's real life experiences versus
just one guy."
For Airmen, the demonstration of the simulator provided a look into the
real-life cooperation and organization behind operations abroad.
"It's really important to do this because we get different
perspectives," said one of two Tactical Air Control Party students who
participated over the three days. "We're actually talking to a pilot
who's flying a simulated A-10 [aircraft]. We're actually doing our job
controlling and being an air liaison to the Army. Everyone's doing their
As JTACs, the Airmen are responsible for calling in fire and artillery,
battle tracking to orient commanders to progressing situations, and
coordinating aircrews and ground teams to carry out operations. During
the demonstration, the students communicated with A-10 pilots in Iowa
and a ground commander in Florida, among others.
Though the simulator is different from real battle, it helps to overcome
space and time restrictions that could otherwise limit the experience
Airmen take with them overseas.
"It's putting you in the best place you can be, without actually being there," said the other participating TACP student.