919th SOW leads deployment, strengthens interoperability in South America

  • Published
  • By Michelle Gigante
  • 919th Special Operations Wing

Citizen Air Commandos from the 919th Special Operations Wing demonstrated their warfighting capabilities in the 12th Air Force-led U.S. Southern Command field training exercise, Resolute Sentinel 2023 July 7-22, 2023. 

“Resolute Sentinel is ideally suited for a wing like the 919th Special Operations Wing,” said Lt. Col. Brian Daniels, 859th Special Operations Squadron commander. “We have over 30 members from the 919th SOW in Peru supporting special operations spanning multiple information domains. The 919th SOW have been persistently engaged with operations in the region for over eight years.  Our Citizen Airmen have the experience and relationships to seamlessly integrate into an exercise like this with our joint partners, because it is what we do every day operationally.”

Airmen from the 919th SOW arrived at the Latin American country in early July and hit the ground running. Their focus was on forging relationships with other special operations forces that would prove pivotal to assimilating together with partner nations in the region for the month-long exercise.

The purpose of Resolute Sentinel 2023 was to integrate combat interoperability and disaster response while conducting medical exchanges, construction projects and partner nation training.

The primary participants in the exercise included 859th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field, Florida, 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, Louisville, Kentucky, and 3rd Battalion Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah Georgia.

Some of the training the Joint Force did with their Peruvian Air Force counterparts ranged from reconfiguring a C-146A Wolfhound for casualty evacuation training to receiving a round of C-130 Hercules support that refueled and set conditions for the exercise culminating the event.

“This is the first time the Special Operations Task Group has joined other partner nations in a deployed environment to work together in support of an operational mission,” said Senior Master Sgt. Tanya Kent, 919th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “Our C-146A operations provided global support in all aspects. Resolute Sentinel allowed our Citizen Air Commandos to show they can fulfill any mission given to them successfully, and their dedication and willingness demonstrated their genuine interest to learn and improve the joint forces’ capacity.”

Members of the 919th SOW served as the SOTG Headquarters to provide command and control and Special Operations Forces air mobility support to exercise participants.

“We assembled an amazing team from the 919th SOW who set conditions for success,” said Daniels. “Our relationship was based on trust to be here representing Air Force Special Operations Command, as well as Air Force Reserve Command, and to showcase our SOTG capabilities.”

Timelines for the SOTG were aligned with the Air Force Special Operations Force Generation model. Force generation is how the Air Force trains and employs Airmen at home as well as in a deployed environment. AFSOC has developed the model to deploy the functionality of a whole unit and establish operational air bases while maintaining a small footprint.

“This training amplifies deployment ready status,” said Daniels. “We could deploy tomorrow, if needed.”

The 919th SOW’s participation in this exercise provides the certification for Reserve members to achieve validation by AFSOC before they deploy. This was the first time an AFSOC unit had conducted a SOTG certification assessment at an overseas location while Airmen were also supporting deployment operations. The 919th SOW led this effort continuing to demonstrate its ability to transform to meet AFSOC’s future warfighting capabilities.

The training provided an opportunity for Airmen to showcase their diversity and experience.

For example, Maj. Katie Anderson, 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron chief nurse, touched on some of the medical aspects of the certification training with the joint force partners.

“We rely on a lot of mobile medical assets in austere environments and getting to see the healthcare system here and interact with our joint force has not only been eye-opening, but refreshing to see what is available to the local populace,” said Anderson. “I hope the footprint we leave behind is a positive one to enable the Peruvian community to grow their medical capabilities.” 

The countries involved in Resolute Sentinel 2023 spread across Peru, Republic of Ecuador, and Colombia and include nine nations: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“This exercise brought a very robust team,” said Anderson. “It was evident a large amount of research was involved to combine our partner nation forces and it has been awesome to be able to participate.”