“More Robust” Emerald Warrior Wraps Up

Air Force Special Operations Command wrapped up the second iteration of its Emerald Warrior exercise on Feb. 13, marking the command’s first joint and coalition exercise that focuses on training special operations forces from across the services and integrating them with non-SOF forces and partner agencies, planners told the Daily Report. AFSOC’s Col. Ron Wiegand, the director of the exercise, said this time around the exercise was “much more robust,” calling it the “biggest integrated SOF exercise to date.” Taking place at 15 sites across the US, including virtual sites and live-fly exercises out of the ranges operated by Eglin AFB, Fla., about 700 total personnel and 45 aircraft participated in the 11-day event from across US Special Operations Command, the services, and interagency partners (US State Department diplomatic security personnel were part of several scenarios). EW has evolved from exercising the tactical pieces of SOF capabilities to a broader construct that includes long-range infiltration and exfilatration with three of AFSOC’s CV-22 Ospreys, medical evacuation, combat search and rescue, and scenarios focusing on counterinsurgency, Wiegand said. “That integrated environment is something our troops face in combat, and what we wanted to do is create the same things they face in Iraq or Afghanistan,” Wiegand said.