By Airman 1st Class Emily Smallwood
33rd Fighter Wing
Military branches often work in conjunction with each other, performing joint operations all over the world. Air, ground and sea power are all crucial to the Department of Defense’s mission of protecting the security of our country. However, there are challenges that come when engaging in joint functions.
U.S. Army Capt. John Logan and Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Brodhead, 358th Ground Liaison Detachment, 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment ground liaison officers attached to the 33rd Operations Support Squadron, can attest to those challenges after being stationed at their first Air Force base, Eglin Air Force Base, with the 33rd Fighter Wing.
“There are cultural differences between the Army and Air Force,” said Brodhead. “The structure is set up differently, learning the different roles of Airmen and understanding the different acronyms and lingo was difficult at first.”
After three years of being integrated with Airmen, Brodhead faces less challenges now since adjusting to the lifestyle. On the other hand, Logan arrived in September and is still adapting to the differences.
“My interaction with the Air Force was limited before being stationed here but it has been nothing but a positive experience so far,” said Logan. “The biggest challenges I’ve experienced deal with Air Force operations and the capabilities of the different platforms. Thankfully, there are a lot of knowledgeable people around me that are open to answering the questions I have.”
As ground liaison officers, their role entails tracking, understanding and briefing enemy ground formation on the battlefield to pilots and intelligence Airmen. They are the subject matter expert for ground operations.
“We are focused on providing the clearest picture possible of what is happening on the ground for pilots executing close air support for ground forces,” said Logan. “From the Army’s perspective, one of the key missions of the F-35 is providing [ground forces] CAS. As pilots go through their training here at Eglin Air Force Base to become F-35 pilots, it is important that their training is as realistic as possible.”
Brodhead added that working together strengthens familiarity with each other allowing for a stronger force.
“This assignment has provided me knowledge about the Air Force that will give me an upper hand in the future and progression of my career,” said Brodhead. “Not everyone has had this opportunity or experience and gaining knowledge about airpower will allow me to support and assist the ground force commander more efficiently.”
While the Soldiers are learning about the Air Force lifestyle, Airmen here are also being acquainted with Army customs.
“We also provide academic training to the pilots regarding Army task organization, capabilities and how Army forces execute their mission on the ground,” said Logan. “The more discussions, knowledge and experience the pilots have regarding the Army will only make the joint battle that much more successful.”
Joint operations are not uncommon and will continue to be a critical tool in ensuring a more efficient and effective joint force.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION