Fairchild builds joint partnership with Marines

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Kiaundra Miller
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing

Editors note: This is the first story of a series about Fairchild's participation in the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center joint exercise.

Team Fairchild Airmen from the 384th and 93rd Air Refueling Squadron observed a Marine Corps exercise here, May 3-11, 2021.

The observation allowed Team Fairchild the opportunity to create a joint partnership between Airmen and Marines for future exercises.

During the observation, one asset was at the forefront: a lack of air refueling support, something Fairchild can provide in future exercises.

“Getting air refueling out here is a high-demand and low-density capability that the Marine Corps doesn’t have a lot of,” said Glenn Healm, Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Center joint exercise planner. “There’s not enough air refueling to go around and that’s why we’re hoping the KC-135 Stratotankers can come out and give us a hand.”

Not only will providing air refueling support aid the Marines, but it will also provide several training opportunities for Team Fairchild.

“Doing this will wield a lot of benefits for Fairchild, specifically with what the Marine Corps is looking for in their KC-135 support,” said Lt. Col. Brian Sikkema, 384th Air Refueling Squadron operations officer. “Doing air refueling with them gives us an opportunity to practice some things we don’t get to practice out of our home station. The Marine Corps operates in a very different way than our typical receivers, giving us the opportunity to train to a different skillset.”

Having additional fuel support to enhance close air support is vital in large scale exercises like this one, specifically for Marine training for long range operations.

“The very end of our exercise is war-fighting, where we are concentrating on the near-peer capability that we are trying to hone in on,” Healm said. “That part of the exercise is force-on-force and is not scripted. We have an adversary force (local Marines) out there that is going to fight how they want to fight and create a lot of stress on the friendly forces (local Marines).”

Providing training to Airmen and Marines is extremely vital, not only to each service member, but aids in deterring war and protects national security.