Strike Eagles, Warthogs and TACPs, oh my!


The opposing force scurried around the arid airfield to prepare for an oncoming attack. Without warning, a pair of A-10C Thunderbolt IIs screamed toward the airfield and simulated multiple strafing runs decimating a radar jammer.

A Tactical Air Control Party specialist embedded with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, confirmed the target was destroyed from a hideout in the woods nearby.

A C-17 Globemaster III out of Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, flew out of the clouds overhead and delivered simulated support of 82nd Airborne Division members who would parachute to the ground and take over the airfield by any means necessary.

Within a short amount of time, American forces gained control of the airfield and the exercise, Razor Talon, continued.

“Razor Talon is an integral part of training,” said Capt. Dan Lusardi, 75th Fighter Squadron A-10C pilot. “As an A-10 pilot, we rarely have a chance to practice with other branches and have our capabilities fully utilized. It’s rare that we practice both air-to-ground and air-to-air procedures, especially at the same time.”

Lusardi added this type of training not only sharpens pilots’ tactics, techniques and procedures, but also allows them to work better with other military branches during real world operations.

Maj. Mike Malone, chief officer in charge for Razor Talon, said one of the main objectives of the exercise is to help our Airmen better integrate with other branches and other aircraft.

“We want to integrate all military personnel so we can synchronize our effects and continue to dominate our adversaries as a unified fighting force,” said Malone.

Twenty-One aircraft supported this past Razor Talon. Each aircraft played a pivotal role in the success of the exercise.

Fourteen of the aircraft were Seymour Johnson’s very own F-15E Strike Eagles, which were tasked to simulate the destruction of ground targets. Four F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, flew high above the ground and fought simulated opposing forces in the air and on the ground.

Two A-10s from Moody AFB, Georgia, provided close air support for ground forces.

“In a real world environment, there are a lot of moving parts,” Malone said. “Razor Talon allows us to join forces and use those moving parts at a good pace in a safer environment.”

This Razor Talon was also joined by North Carolina Senator Harry Brown, Assistant Secretary of Military Affairs Jason Cain and other NC officials and were invited to experience Razor Talon in the 4th Fighter Wing’s new War Room.

Malone said the War Room allows Razor Talon to be controlled in real time and gives an overview of the entire exercise, which helps make it a more real experience.

“Having real time information doesn’t just help the participants practice, it helps enhance their capabilities,” said Capt. William Slater, mission commander for this month’s Razor Talon. “Another great thing is that the exercise is every month. Other exercises are normally held quarterly, if not yearly.”

Razor Talon ended with the airfield being seized by U.S. Forces and all simulated opposing forces were defeated. 

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