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New USAFWC commander’s first visit to 505th CCW

photo of Gen. Cunningham shaking hands with female civic leader

Maj. Gen. Case Cunningham, commander of U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, greets Fort Walton Beach civic leaders during his first visit to the 505th Command and Control Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jun 23. The 505th CCW is the U.S. Air Force's only wing dedicated to the core mission of command and control. (U.S. Air Force photographer Ms. Deb Henley)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --

After assuming command of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, not five days ago, Maj. Gen. Case Cunningham's first visit was to the U.S. Air Force's only wing dedicated to the core mission of command and control. 

Cunningham and Chief Master Sgt. Emilio Hernandez, command chief of USAFWC, set out to expand their knowledge of the 505th Command and Control Wing's complex C2 mission at Hurlburt Field, Florida, June 23.

Cunningham and Hernandez received an immersion brief, given by Col. Richard Dickens, commander of 505th CCW, and his leadership team.

Mr. Richard McKee, director, mission support of 505th CCW, Detachment 1, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, virtually briefed, discussing Det 1's airpower expertise and exercise support to the U.S. Army Mission Command Training Program and liaisons to the Combined Arms Center.  

Col. Adam Shelton, commander of 505th Test and Training Group, discussed his four squadrons and their very diverse missions. Those missions include premier testing, evaluation, training, and tactics development across C2, sensors, and battle management weapon systems. 

"Every squadron has a different focus and goal that they're trying to achieve," said Shelton. "But the good part is when you combine them, the integration they bring through their competency and professionalism touch all aspects of C2 from both the conceptual and technology perspectives."

Cunningham and Hernandez learned the 705th Training Squadron is the focal point for the Air Force’s advanced Joint All-Domain Operations education and C2 process improvement. The squadron recently developed and graduated its first class of Multi-domain Warfare Officer Instructor Upgrade Training candidates.

The leaders learned more about the unique C2 mission contributions of the wing's units at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and the rest of its 13 geographically separated units. The wing's GSUs from Utah, Nevada, Kansas, California, Oklahoma, and Georgia virtually briefed the leaders throughout the visit.

The 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, monitors, evaluates, optimizes, and integrates fixed and mobile long-range radars for both the operational and federal communities. The 84th RADES also sets the standard for sensor coverage prediction and depiction, providing data analysis and unique radar forensics to support search and rescue missions and aircraft mishap investigations. 

Col. Aaron Gibney, commander of the 505th Combat Training Group, discussed his four squadrons: two at Hurlburt Field, Florida, one at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and one at Nellis AFB, Nevada, where the group is also headquartered. The squadrons expertly and professionally conduct operational assessments/experimentation, develop advanced tactics, and train warfighters for multi-domain integration.

Cunningham toured the 805th Combat Training Squadron, also known as the Shadow Operations Center-Nellis, before taking command at Nellis. The ShOC-N has recently been identified as the primary Air Battle Management System battle lab.

Lt. Col. Lindsay Post, commander of 705th Combat Training Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, shared her squadron's primary mission to conduct large-scale VIRTUAL FLAG exercises with their current niche focused on joint and coalition integration.

Cunningham and Hernandez's tour of the 505th CCW's campus began with the battlespace, and the Joint Operations Center as personnel from the 505th Combat Training Squadron and 505th Communications Squadron supported Pacific Sentry, a multi-national exercise.

The USAFWC command team entered the 505th CS's "Lion's Den" and learned how they support a broad swath of the 505th CCW missions, providing the connectivity required for organizations across the globe to integrate to various events. 

Lt. Col. Veronica Williams, commander of 505th CS, discussed the squadron's $5.5 million C2 Enclave, consisting of four AOC weapon systems and core communications services. The Enclave is the wing's key node for delivering command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence support to a myriad of mission partners participating in multiple joint exercises annually, including BLUE FLAG and the U.S. Army Warfighter series.

During lunch with wing leadership and community leaders, Cunningham and Hernandez met Mr. Paul Lux, honorary commander of 505th CCW, and Ms. Cindy Frakes, honorary commander of 505th TTG. Lux and Frakes shared how the ties they built during the wing's last tour as part of 70 members from five Military Affairs Committees in the local area increased the proactive community voice for the 505th CCW and its mission. 

After lunch, the general learned how the 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron integrates with operational units across the AF and our sister services to ensure new capabilities work for the warfighter. The latest tactics optimize the combat effectiveness of C2 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. The squadron is looking toward the future by joining the joint force as it experiments with the latest technology and concepts to advance JADC2.

At the next stop, the USAFWC leadership team learned about the Advanced Programs' building modernization efforts to enable the wing's expanding missions. Despite these modernization efforts, the current facility has been operating beyond capacity, which is why the consolidated Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility/Special Access Program Facility is the wing's number one priority in the Area Development Plan. 

Throughout the tour, Cunningham seized several opportunities to recognize several of the local 505th CCW's best and brightest innovators for their exceptional performance. 

  • Airman First Class Melanie Clancy, 505th CTS 
  • Staff Sgt. Jonathan Stephens, 505th CS 
  • Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Archuleta, 605th TES
  • Maj. Mark Scott, 705th TRS
  • Mr. Miguel Nolla, 505th Training Squadron

The tour's final stop was the 505th TRS, the gateway for initial qualification training for all geographic and global AOCs. The squadron demonstrated how they train an operations team to oversee and ensure the general's intent/directive is carried out from decision to action. While in the combat operations center, the leaders witnessed the team concept as each member carried out their responsibilities as dictated by the chief of combat operations during a training scenario that included a mock missile attack on Hurlburt Field, Florida. 

"It was great to host Maj. Gen. Cunningham and Chief Hernandez," said Dickens. "It was gratifying to see our high-performing Airmen brief our senior leaders and demonstrate to them how they are accelerating and integrating change at the 505th."

The USAFWC is headquartered at Nellis AFB, Nevada, reporting directly to the Air Combat Command. The USAFWC is the world's premier proving ground for air, space, and cyberspace lethality. Its mission is to develop Airmen and advance warfighter capabilities through testing, training, and tactics development to dominate the multi-domain fight.