Forging the Way Ahead for Operational Planning Published Jan. 8, 2010 By Capt. Bryon M. Turner 103rd Air and Space Operations Group Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. -- Personnel from the 103rd Air and Space Operations Group participated in real-world operational testing of new communication technologies at the U.S. Air Force Central's Combined Air and Space Operations Center Annex at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 13 through 20. "This helped forge a way ahead for the future of operational planning in the AFCENT theatre of operations," said Lt. Col. Aaron Lehman, commander, Detachment 1, 609th Air and Space Operations Center. Conn. Airmen were instrumental in building a Master Air Attack Plan with inputs from operational planners from the AFCENT CAOC in Southwest Asia, which provides the command and control of airpower throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and 18 other nations. "The expertise and experience we put together on both the enlisted and officer side of the house in Connecticut has already begun paying dividends," said Maj. Robert Feher, chief of group Stan/Eval, 103rd Air and Space Operations Group. "We are making a difference and having a great time doing it." The unit's tanker planners assisted with building a tanker plan to support all the assets that would require refueling during the next days' air war. "To review real-world strategy, responsibilities and processes during war-time air refueling taskings has been nothing short of amazing for our Guardsmen," said Maj. Richard Mastalerz, chief of training, 103rd Air Mobility Operations Squadron. "This knowledge is absolutely invaluable as we forge ahead into the future." Finally, Air Tasking Order Production team members from the 103rd AOG helped merge inputs from all four military branches and produced an Air Tasking Order, which tasks air and space capabilities and assets in accordance with the Master Air Attack Plan. "These highly skilled operators and technicians were all requested by name," said Lehman. "And will be participating in more testing and exercises at Shaw AFB in the near future."