• Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Bethany Rizor
  • 110th Wing

BATTLE CREEK, Michigan – Airman participated in history-making Operation Bruiser as the MQ-9 Reaper and A-10 Thunderbolt II taxied onto the usually vacant airfield at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. The aircraft were positioned side-by-side, while maintainers refueled and moved weapons from the A-10 to rearm the MQ-9 with engines continuously running – a first in MQ-9 Reaper history.

Pilot, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Campbell and sensor operator Senior Master Sgt. Robert Myers remote-piloted the unmanned MQ-9 from Fargo, North Dakota to the Battle Creek ANGB. The MQ-9 “Battle” arrived with a customized tail flash specifically modified for Battle Creek to support the ACE mission during Northern Agility.

The well-planned training was a part of the Air National Guard’s portion of Northern Strike 23-2. Northern Agility focuses on Air National Guard’s ability in developing and validating tactics, techniques and procedures for the future war fight, emphasizing Agile Combat Employment (ACE) capabilities to complicate an adversary's decision-making process.

“Today's event showcased the interoperability between the A-10 and MQ-9 demonstrating an integrated combat turn, while both aircraft had engines running,” said Master Sgt. Steven Jones, 172nd Attack Squadron sensor operator. “This is just a sample of what the men and women at the 110th Wing and the Air National Guard can accomplish.”

Leadership's intention is to use practical training scenarios like Operation Bruiser to develop and empower multi-capable airmen to make bold decisions in uncertain and complex war fighting positions.

ACE, a universal combat air force application was the backbone of Operation Bruiser. ACE supports capabilities for combat air power at any given moment. Integrated combat turns (ICT’s) enable rapid re-arming and refueling to minimize the aircrew's ground time and maximize their combat air time.

“The ACE framework provides airmen the opportunity to test standard operating procedures and scenarios to train as multi-capable airmen,” Jones said.

Operation Bruiser’s multi-faceted concept developed over the course of a year in coordination with multiple units from both reserve and active components. Each component's dedication to their role contributed to accomplish trained airmen within five core functions; Air Superiority, Global Strike, Rapid Global Mobility; Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and Command and Control.

The training scenario required participation from Battle Creek’s own, 110th Operations Group, 172nd Attack Squadron, 110th Logistics Squadron, the 65th Special Operations Group stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida, 2D Special Operations Squadron, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 119th Operations Group from Fargo, North Dakota, the U.S. Army Company B, 3/238th Aviation Regiment, 107th Fighter Squadron, and 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron out of Selfridge, Michigan.

“This is a momentous occasion for the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base and the entire community,” said Air Force Col. Daniel Kamer, 110th Wing Commander. “Having the MQ-9 here as part of Northern Strike is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our personnel. We are thrilled to offer our base members the opportunity to witness this groundbreaking aircraft event up close.”