Teams of airmen, including special tactics operators, practiced a series of combat skills, including how to secure an airfield overseas, beginning last month at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and Kinston, North Carolina.

The exercise, known as Commando Crucible, was held June 18 to July 3, the Air Force said in a release Monday. The training exercise, led by special tactics operators, involved 253 participants and 40 aircraft from across Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command.

The training allowed the airmen to practice skills such as precision strike, personnel recovery and how to deal with foreign internal defense capabilities, the release said.

As part of the training, special tactics operators traveled from Hurlburt to Kinston to practice quickly securing an airfield to use as a forward air refueling point. This exercise involved F-15 Eagles, F-22 Raptors and MC-130s from AFSOC.

An unidentified special tactics airman said in the release that this part of the training helped AFSOC and ACC get more used to working together.

During another part of the exercise, members of the 53rd Air Traffic Control Squadron, assigned to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, served as a host nation force in the simulation. Special tactics airmen trained them on fundamental tactical skills and guided them through a direct action training mission.

“The [special tactics] flights did a great job providing a plan of instruction in only three days to effectively integrate with the teams conducting the raids,” the special tactics officer said. “This is extremely realistic for a lot of the different partner forces we integrate with in deployed areas of operation.”

At least one CV-22 Osprey from the 8th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt also participated in the exercise at Eglin Range, Florida.

Parts of the exercise were observed by Col. Matt Allen, Col. Allison Black, and Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Guilmain, the commander, vice commander and command chief of the 24th Special Operations Wing.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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