Alongside the familiar sight of Wright-Patterson’s C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets, the Special Operations airmen brought a collection of CV-22 Ospreys that spin massive tilt rotors to take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a conventional airplane, heavily armed AC-130U Spooky gunships, and MC-130H Combat Talon II planes to the Miami Valley airfield.
The Florida-based airmen flew to Ohio to train in new terrain, said Palenske, a former Army soldier turned Air Force Special Operations Command pilot. Olympus Archer launched Aug. 12 and is set to wrap up Friday.
“The opportunity to train here in this unfamiliar environment has given us some second-to-none opportunities to really get after to taking our training to the next level to make sure when we go down range to fight our nation’s enemies, we are the best trained that we can possibly be,” he said standing on the flight line.
“If you work out of Hurlburt Field day in and day out, it gets pretty mundane,” he added. “… But what our nation needs us to do is to be able to execute these missions from anywhere in the world. So an unfamiliar location like Wright-Patt is critical to making sure we can be as sharp as we can be.”
Special Operations airmen deploy worldwide, but primarily to the Middle East, he said.
“I’d say 90 percent of the stuff that Special Operations does happens at night, and that’s mainly because we own the night,” he said.
The 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patt provided logistics to housing, among other support, while the air commandos use buildings of the 445th Airlift Wing, which flies the C-17.
“To have our comrades-in-arms use our installation as a platform from which to do their very important training, it’s just a great opportunity,” said Col. Bradley W. McDonald, 88th Air Base Wing commander.
It’s not the first time in recent years aircraft that aren’t based in the Miami Valley have temporarily made Wright-Patterson home.
In 2013, the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing in Toledo sent F-16s fighter jets and the next year the Air Force Reserve 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., sent KC-135 flying tankers to Wright-Patterson.