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'Thinking at 1,000 miles per hour'

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht, 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Thinking at 1,000 miles per hour', the 227th Air Support Operations Squadron completed a week of grueling training at Fort Drum, N.Y., Aug 24.

The 227th is an Air National Guard unit assigned to the 177th Fighter Wing and is assigned with providing direct support for the New Jersey Army National Guard's 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Pennsylvania National Guard's 2-28th Brigade Combat Team.

"As an ASOS unit, we work with the U.S. Army, which is a fluid entity – they are event driven, and we have to flex to that," said Lt. Col. Albert Danza, commander of the 227th. "On the ground, you have to think at 1,000 miles per hour, because the game is constantly changing."

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), and support personnel attended the weeklong training, which helped to sharpen their skills. JTACs personnel are qualified military service members who from a forward position, directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations.

Tech. Sgt. Jose Almeida, left, joint terminal attack controller, and Maj Ernie Bio, air liaison officer, check their M4 Carbines.

They got the opportunity to train with both active duty and National Guard aircraft, as well as Soldiers from the 50th IBCT.

"I feel very strongly that we are a force multiplier," said Tech. Sgt. Jose Almeida, one of the squadron's experienced JTAC's. "The things we do; the capabilities that we bring to the fight - utilizing fixed and rotary wing assets are key - and these rigors we encounter in training help us to have a successful outcome on the battlefield."

"When you're in the cockpit, you're insulated," said Danza, as he offered his perspective from an air liaison officer's point of view. "Seeing things from the ground is an eye-opener having been a pilot. I can better relate to what the pilots providing close air support see."

"This is what it's all about," concluded Danza. "Trusting your training; thinking at 1,000 miles per hour."

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Volume 35 Number 4 Staff / Information
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