An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Sept. 7, 2023

Pennsylvania Airmen Forge New Paths in Exercise Iron Keystone

By Senior Master Sgt. Alexander Farver, 193rd Special Operations Wing

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. - In a display of unity and innovation, 150 Airmen from the three Pennsylvania Air National Guard wings converged for the groundbreaking Exercise Iron Keystone, held from Aug. 3 - 6. This landmark exercise marked the first joint endeavor among the wings, signaling a powerful commitment to enhance their collective combat prowess.

“Across our three wings, we have similar units that perform dissimilar missions. We wanted to bring together these units with their unique tactics and insights to see if we could meet a common objective,” said exercise planner Lt. Col. Stephen McNamara.

At the heart of this dynamic exercise lay a paramount objective: to pioneer innovative approaches in executing Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concepts. ACE, a transformative doctrine, empowers Airmen and small units to conduct missions from decentralized locations. This adaptability enables them to align with the commander’s intent despite minimal guidance and respond effectively to unforeseen variables.

“We recognize the growing threat China poses to the United States and their ability to disrupt our capacity to operate from large, centralized locations,” said Col. Edward Fink, 193rd Special Operations Wing commander. “The lessons we’re learning in this exercise will increase our survivability and ability to project airpower in a future conflict.”

Exercise Iron Keystone also aimed to advance tactical innovation by synchronizing participants with the new Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) model. This model outlines a meticulous 24-month rotational cycle segmented into four distinct phases: prepare, certify, available, and reset. The Airmen ensured their readiness was honed by aligning their goals with the required Mission Essential Tasks units entering the commit phase.

“The old ways of waging wars from massive, secure bases have become antiquated, and the Pennsylvania Air National Guard has chosen to lead the charge in refining the ACE and AFFORGEN paradigms,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Regan, Pennsylvania Air National Guard commander. “The lessons distilled from Iron Keystone will resonate throughout the entire force, fortifying our lethality and resilience.”

As the last echoes of the exercise faded against the backdrop of the Keystone State, it was evident that the Pennsylvania National Guard had etched a new chapter in their storied legacy. Exercise Iron Keystone was not just an assembly of exercises; it was a symphony of innovation, unity, and adaptability that will ensure the three wings of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard can adapt to an ever-changing security environment.



Related Articles
Volunteers placed wreaths in front of headstones at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies as part of Wreathes Across America, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, Dec. 16, 2023.
Pennsylvania Air National Guardsman Honors the Fallen
By Jodi Snyder, | Dec. 20, 2023
PITTSBURGH - An Airman from the 171st Air Refueling Wing honors fallen veterans by cleaning headstones and placing wreaths on their graves during the holiday season.Tech Sgt. Robert Hasenflu, an aircraft mechanic at the 171st...

Megan Hirlehey has wanted to be a pilot since she came to the base for family day as a kid with her dad, Kevin Clancy, a Master Sgt. in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. In 2008, right before graduating high school, Megan enlisted in her dads unit, the 171st Air Refueling Wing.
Dad Marshals Pennsylvania Air Guard Daughter's First Flight
By Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Monk, | Sept. 7, 2023
CORAOPOLIS, Pa. – Megan Hirlehey wanted to be a pilot ever since she came to the base for family day as a kid with her dad, Kevin Clancy, a Master Sgt. in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.“This is kind of the last thing...

A new MC-130J Commando II aircraft rolls onto the flight line at the 193rd Special Operations Wing during an arrival ceremony in Middletown, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2023. The 193rd SOW being is the first Air National Guard unit to receive the MC-130J Commando II mission.
Pennsylvania Air Guard Gets New Special Ops Aircraft
By Capt. Susan Penning, | Aug. 11, 2023
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 193rd Special Operations Wing accepted a new MC-130J Commando II military aircraft during a July 27 ceremony.The 193rd SOW is the first — and currently the only — ANG...