353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II conducts in-flight refueling with a U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Blackhawks Sept. 25, 2017, over waters in the Philippines. Experts in specialized aviation, the 1st SOS conducts refueling operations often to ensure they are always ready perform a variety of high-priority, low-visibility missions throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific-Region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron personnel work on a U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II in preparation for helicopter air-to-air refueling with U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Blackhawks Sept. 24, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The MC-130H aircraft undergoes a rigorous inspection of all systems to ensure the safety of aircrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron personnel work on a U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II in preparation for helicopter air-to-air refueling with U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Blackhawks Sept. 24, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The 353rd SOMXS works around the clock to ensure readiness of the MC-130H aircraft, which can sortie at a moment’s notice for support operations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron Airman works on a U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II in preparation for helicopter air-to-air refueling with U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Blackhawks Sept. 24, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The 353rd SOMXS performs a complete inspection of all systems to ensure the aircraft’s continued safe operation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron intelligence officer provides an intelligence update and assessment to the 353rd Special Operations Group commander Sept. 24, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Though hidden behind the scenes, the 353rd SOSS intelligence team paints the operational picture driven by the exercise scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft commander briefs aircrew on mission objectives and safety considerations prior to helicopter air-to-air refueling with U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Blackhawks Sept. 24, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Experts in specialized aviation, the 1st SOS conducts refueling operations often to ensure they are always ready perform a variety of high-priority, low-visibility missions throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific-Region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II conducts in-flight refueling with a U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Blackhawks Sept. 25, 2017, over waters in the Philippines. Experts in specialized aviation, the 1st SOS conducts refueling operations often to ensure they are always ready perform a variety of high-priority, low-visibility missions throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific-Region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II navigator looks over a checklist while monitoring systems on the Talon II in support of Tempest Wind Sept. 25, 2017, throughout various locations in the Philippines. The 1st SOS supported interagency, combined and joint partners with special operations forces (SOF) airlift and helicopter air-to-air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017

A U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II pilot looks over an approach plate while flying the Talon II in support of Tempest Wind Sept. 25, 2017, throughout various locations in the Philippines. The 1st SOS supported interagency, combined and joint partners with special operations forces (SOF) airlift and helicopter air-to-air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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A U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft commander flies the Talon II in support of exercise Tempest Wind Sept. 25, 2017, throughout various locations in the Philippines. The 1st SOS supported interagency, combined and joint partners with special operations forces (SOF) airlift and helicopter air-to-air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron aircrew remain focused while flying the MC-130H Combat Talon II during exercise Tempest Wind Sept. 25, 2017, throughout various locations in the Philippines. The 1st SOS supported interagency, combined and joint partners with special operations forces (SOF) airlift and helicopter air-to-air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. military and interagency partners sit in the back of a U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Squadron MC-130H Combat Talon II during exercise Tempest Wind Sept. 25, 2017, in Palawan, Western Philippines. The 1st SOS supported interagency, combined and joint partners with special operations forces (SOF) airlift and helicopter air-to-air refueling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. and Philippine exercise participants conclude Tempest Wind 2017 with a meeting to discuss lessons learned Sept. 26, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Tempest Wind is designed to support U.S. Pacific Command and Republic of the Philippines’ objective of advancing regional security cooperation and improving crisis response. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. and Philippine exercise participants celebrate the conclusion of Tempest Wind 2017 with a Filipino cultural meal Sept. 26, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Always postured to support reginal security cooperation in the Pacific, the group worked with special operations forces (SOF) from the Philippines and the United States to test and improve the ability to rapidly plan, coordinate and conduct counterterrorism operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group Airmen stand in formation during the closing ceremony for exercise Tempest Wind Sept. 26, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The 353rd SOG demonstrated operational readiness during Tempest Wind, a bilateral, interagency counterterrorism exercise from Sept. 18-26, 2017, in Okinawa, Japan and various locations throughout the Philippines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group Airmen stand in formation during the closing ceremony for exercise Tempest Wind Sept. 26, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The 353rd SOG demonstrated operational readiness during Tempest Wind, a bilateral, interagency counterterrorism exercise from Sept. 18-26, 2017, in Okinawa, Japan and various locations throughout the Philippines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

353rd SOG participates in Tempest Wind 2017
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U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group Airmen listen to the 353rd SOG commander deliver closing comments Sept. 26, 2017, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Always postured to support reginal security cooperation in the Pacific, the group worked with special operations forces (SOF) from the Philippines and the United States to test and improve the ability to rapidly plan, coordinate and conduct counterterrorism operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jessica Tait)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

The 353rd Special Operations Group demonstrated operational readiness during Tempest Wind, a bilateral, interagency counterterrorism exercise from Sept. 18-26, 2017, in Okinawa, Japan and various locations throughout the Philippines. 

Tempest Wind is designed to support U.S. Pacific Command and the Republic of the Philippines’ objective of advancing regional security cooperation and improving crisis response actions.

“Tempest Wind is unique when compared with other exercises we participate in,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brandon Thornton, 1st Special Operations Squadron commander. “We regularly exercise crisis response deployment, but don’t often get to employ assets and conduct operations in this type of environment. With Tempest Wind, we executed both deployment and employment on an accelerated timeline and did so outstandingly.”

The 353rd SOG worked with special operations forces (SOF) from the Philippines and the United States in order to improve the ability to rapidly plan, coordinate and conduct counterterrorism operations in an austere environment on extremely short notice.

From the logisticians and air planners working approvals, communication technicians ensuring network connectivity and maintenance personnel readying aircraft for sorties, the success of the exercise could not have been accomplished without these supporting agencies working behind the scenes.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team involved in the exercise,” said Thornton. “We supported our global partners with SOF airlift, helicopter air-to-air refueling, advanced communications infrastructure, integrated intelligence assessments and command and control. Working long hours and often stepping out of their comfort zone to serve the greater mission, these men and women enabled SOF to accomplish exercise objectives flawlessly.”

Airmen worked closely with their Army counterparts, specifically the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group and the 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The countless hours spent side-by-side helped to strengthen joint interoperability between the services and ensure future success on the battlefield.

“We don’t always have the opportunity to execute this type of scenario with all the U.S. and host nation players involved in this exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Kirby, 353rd SOG commander. “The lessons learned and the relationships we have developed directly contribute to security, stability, and prosperity across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”