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NEWS | Feb. 8, 2024

Joint Base MDL conquers Bamboo Eagle 24-1

By Staff Sgt. Austin Knox 87th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 305th Air Mobility Wing’s 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, and the 108th Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard, returned to their home station at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Feb. 3, 2024, after completing the Bamboo Eagle 24-1 exercise at Travis Air Force Base, California.

Bamboo Eagle is an eight-day operational exercise that implements multi-domain combat readiness training following the tactical buildup of exercise Red Flag 24-1.

Training in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and airspace allowed for warfighters to train in a combat-representative environment and incorporated scenarios in the maritime domain. Participants from more than twenty military units implemented all-domain combat power generation from multiple basing locations throughout the Western part of the U.S., while conducting distributed command and control, agile logistics, and tactical air-to-air refueling.

“For Bamboo Eagle we provided two KC-46’s, utilizing augmented crews, for the air-to-air refueling mission” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Joshua Crockett, 2nd Air Refueling Squadron commander. “An augmented crew consists of three pilots and two boom operators, which if needed, allows us to fly for 48 hours. Not only did this exercise provide the opportunity to assess our maximum endurance operations, but it also allowed us to implement new tactics, techniques, and procedures; made available through the unique capabilities of the KC-46A Pegasus.”

The 305th AMW provided the exercise with data link integration via the use of Roll-on Beyond Line-of-Site Enhancement, or ROBE kits. A ROBE is an advanced communication suite that is self-contained, palatized and able to be loaded onto a heavy aircraft. These kits advance access to network user gateways more efficiently and effectively.

During Bamboo Eagle, air battle managers assigned to the 134th Air Control Squadron, McConnell AFB, Kansas, and the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, integrated with the 2nd ARS Pegasus crews, configured with onboard ROBE kits.

“Being able to combine command and control operators from the Air Force Reserve and the Kansas Air National Guard in such a short time was a true testament to our total force integration capabilities” said Maj. Joseph Payne, 970th AACS air battle manager, joint interface control officer. “This was a great example of distributed C2 for agile combat employment.”

Total Force Integration at all levels of operation was a top priority during Bamboo Eagle.

“It provided a piece-of-mind to operate side-by-side with our active-duty counterparts at the 2nd ARS,” said Maj. Michael Compart, 108th Wing pilot. “The like mindedness that accompanies a common mission becomes enhanced and the force multiplying benefits are immense.”

Team JB MDL racked up 137 flight hours, offloaded 1.1 million pounds of fuel to 112 receivers, and accomplished ROBE tests, providing an alternate command and control avenue for contingency air battle management.