8 military units integrate, communicate in large force exercise

A C-130 Super Hercules prepares to be refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker during exercise Combat Raider near Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 28, 2017. The exercise consisted of 22 aircraft from eight military units providing over 100 service members with realistic training scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

A C-130 Super Hercules prepares to be refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker during exercise Combat Raider near Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 28, 2017. The exercise consisted of 22 aircraft from eight military units providing over 100 service members with realistic training scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 175th Fighter Squadron, Joe Foss Field, Air National Guard Station, Sioux Falls, S.D., is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 18th Air Refueling Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., during exercise Combat Raider near Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. Over 20 aircraft participated in the joint exercise from eight military units throughout the United States. (U.S. Air force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 175th Fighter Squadron, Joe Foss Field, Air National Guard Station, Sioux Falls, S.D., is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 18th Air Refueling Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., during exercise Combat Raider near Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. Over 20 aircraft participated in the joint exercise from eight military units throughout the United States. (U.S. Air force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Capts. Carl Price and Chisom Ezeoke, C-130 Super Hercules pilots assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., fly as part of exercise Combat Raider near Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. The crew trained with eight other military units in realistic air-to-air, air-to-ground and combat search and rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

Capts. Carl Price and Chisom Ezeoke, C-130 Super Hercules pilots assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., fly as part of exercise Combat Raider near Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. The crew trained with eight other military units in realistic air-to-air, air-to-ground and combat search and rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

Capt. Carl Price, a C-130 Super Hercules pilot assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., briefs his crew before take-off at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. Price and his crew trained with other Air Force units in realistic air-to-air, air-to-ground and combat search and rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Capt. Carl Price, a C-130 Super Hercules pilot assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., briefs his crew before take-off at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. Price and his crew trained with other Air Force units in realistic air-to-air, air-to-ground and combat search and rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Staff Sgt. Philip Palmer, a C-130 Super Hercules loadmaster assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., watches a C-130 prime for flight during exercise Combat Raider at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. The C-130 is a versatile aircraft capable of performing combat search and rescue missions and refueling other aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Staff Sgt. Philip Palmer, a C-130 Super Hercules loadmaster assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., watches a C-130 prime for flight during exercise Combat Raider at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., June 28, 2017. The C-130 is a versatile aircraft capable of performing combat search and rescue missions and refueling other aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

The 28th Bomb Wing hosted Combat Raider 17-3, a large force exercise executed over the Powder River Training Complex June 26-30, 2017.

This exercise is the sixth iteration of Combat Raider that consisted of five mission objectives: counter-air, strategic strikes, strike coordination and reconnaissance, close air support, and personnel recovery.

“This exercise involves a lot of communication with other units while meeting training objectives,” said Capt. Devin Ivy, the executive officer assigned to the 28th Operations Group. “The point of the exercise is to explore thinking outside the box.”

The exercise took place over parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, with a total of 22 aircraft, eight military units and over 100 service members coming together to strengthen communication and interoperability.

“Integration and communication are the big challenges these aircrews face,” Ivy said. “We are so stove piped at times, worried about our own assets and airframe; however during these exercises, we can learn how other aircraft operate.”

Knowing with whom and how to communicate is crucial in real-world scenarios such as the ones replicated during Combat Raider, Ivy explained. If aircrews can’t properly communicate with one another, it can extend an operational timeline by hours as opposed to minutes with effective communication.

“Combat Raider provides Airmen exposure to these kinds of scenarios,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Mauity, a C-130 Super Hercules pilot assigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. “You don’t want your first experience to be in the field. It’s better to get familiarized with it so everything can flow together.”

Because of the nature of the exercise, the aircrew involved will be fully prepared and equipped to handle any situation down range.

“Integration is the key for us to be successful in the future, especially with the enemies we may face,” said Capt. Collin Neu, a B-52 Stratofortress weapons officer assigned to the 11th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. “Practicing the tactics, techniques and procedures of all the players we are working with will facilitate that integrated fight and allow our Airmen to rain pain on the enemy.”