AIR FORCE ALTUS BASE, Oklahoma– Airmen from the 58th Airlift Squadron supported Exercise Agile Combat Employment (ACE) Reaper September 9-10, 2021 by providing airlifts for MQ-9 Reaper assets deployed from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, fly to Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

The “ACE Reaper” exercise demonstrated the surface training, the joint partnership and planning as well as the joint integration of the instructor pilot and the instructor sensor operator.

“This exercise not only allows us to work with different partners, it also gives our Airmen the opportunity to practice skills outside of our normal locations by using different types of equipment and coordinating the equipment we need for our operations” said Lt. Col Peter McClellan, Chief of Staff, 97th Air Mobility Wing.

In September and early October, several C-17 Globemaster IIIs from the 97th AMW will continue to support the exercise, which focuses on rapidly mobilizing MQ-9 assets for MQ-9 readiness.

“We appreciate Altus’ support as it was an essential part of making this exercise a successful one for the entire community,” said Lt. Col. Jaime Olivares, commander of the 9th Assault Squadron. “Without the support of the C-17 it would have been very difficult to achieve many of the intended learning goals for this exercise.”

Every 97th AMW mission serves to train airmen and improve air strength. As part of the learning objectives, the Airmen of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron were trained in loading, securing and unloading cargo during the exercise.

“It is important for permanent party flyers, the instructors, and the supporting flyers to keep their skills updated so that we can practice what we preach and are best informed in what our instructors teach,” said McClellan.

McClellan added that in addition to providing a training focus, the exercise provided an opportunity for the AAFB flight crew to use their various skills to support other facilities’ missions.

“We have the strategic airlift capability,” he said. “We can help other sister agencies expand their skills or test new skills, which will help our Air Force and the Department of Defense with the missions we are sent on.”