Ready Tiger ends, brings LW closer to IOC

  • Published
  • By Andrea Jenkins
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The 23rd Wing executed Ready Tiger (RT) 22-01 from Feb. 28 to March 4 at Moody Air Force base, Georgia.

The four-day, Lead-Wing (LW) exercise focused on testing Moody’s ability to employ Air Base Squadrons (ABS) to help generate airpower downrange and maintain Command and Control (C2) in contested environments.

As part of the Combat Air Force’s transition to the service’s new force generation model, the LW concept is a strategy where multiple mission sets will align under the command and control of one pre-identified unit which gets its main support from the ABS.

“We did exactly what we set out to do,” said Maj.  Zachary McClelland, 23rd Wing director of plans and training and exercise director. “We not only exercised most of the ABS components but we identified process shortfalls while learning a lot about the ABS during Ready Tiger. The objective was twofold - to exercise the people and their capability in an austere environment and also to exercise the integration of all of those disparate functions under one roof.”


The ABS is designed to be activated upon a quick-reaction deployment of the 23d Wing and includes Airmen from many career fields integrating into one squadron charged with providing or augmenting base operations support in potentially austere environments.


“The ABS commander is a (civil engineer) guy by trade,” McClelland explained. “He's not really used to dealing with mortuary affairs teams or air traffic controllers - all of which are different pieces needed for base function not usually housed under the same roof…but fall underneath the ABS in the Lead-Wing construct.”


This exercise was a continuation of earlier Lead-Wing exercises, such as Mosaic Tiger conducted in November 2021. While MT primarily focused on the Command and Control and communication aspects of the Lead Wing through disaggregation to operation, RT answered the question of how does the LW support the effort through support and logistics.  


“Both RT and MT exercises were two sides of the same coin,” McClelland said. “Mosaic Tiger focused predominantly on C2. We have all these different mission sets in different places and how do we get all those things to, to fly, fight and win in an orchestrated manner. Now the other side, how do you support that endeavor. We absolutely need both because a mission fails without both.”  


Lessons learned during Mosaic Tiger were implemented and the progress was evident in Ready Tiger – propelling the wing closer to Agile Flag projected to occur later this summer.  Agile Flag will test the LW’s mission generation, C2 and base operations support integrators elements to prepare warfighters from multiple installations and major commands for what they may encounter downrange while supporting the joint force air component commander. 


“Agile Flag is a 24-hour a day, eight-day exercise so we will have time and opportunity to simultaneously exercise both components,” said McClelland. “We will get one more rep at Agile Flag, but this is the last one that the wing planned.”


RT was the last of the indigenously produced exercises in preparation for Agile Flag and initial operational capability in October.

“As a Lead Wing, we’re getting to the point where we’ve already fleshed out what works and what doesn’t, and now all we have to do is hone our capabilities,” said Maj. Brendan Sullivan, 23rd Wing deputy chief of A-Staff. “Exercises like Mosaic and Ready Tiger prove the Lead-Wing concept works, so now we’re working to make sure our processes and procedures are documented and replicable for future Lead Wings. We are definitely on track to meet initial operational capability by October of this year.”

McClelland agreed this exercise was another highly successful validation of the Lead Wing and agile combat employment under the Lead Wing.

“Moody is truly leading the Air Force, as evidenced by the observers from other wings and commands that flew in to observe operations or have called with questions,” added McClelland. “This wasn't easy and it has been a heavy lift for a long time, but our Airmen should be extremely proud of where planning, training and exercising have brought us. I'm proud to be a part of this team.”