552nd ACW dominates at William Tell 2023

  • Published
  • By 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 552nd Air Control Wing’s 726th Air Control Squadron from Mountain Home, Idaho, earned The Big Eye Task Force Award recently after competing in the William Tell competition.

William Tell, the U.S. Air Force’s most famous air combat training competition was held September 11-15, 2023, at the Air Dominance Center in Savannah, Georgia, where 10 wings demonstrated American air dominance across seven communities.

The 726th ACS, also known as “Hard Rock,” operates as one of three active-duty Control and Reporting Centers, providing battle management command and control for daily, exercise and real-world operations around the globe.

“William Tell 2023 was a great opportunity to challenge my team against other wing’s champions,” said Capt. Kyle Lassiter, Air Battle Manager with the 726th ACS. “The academics, quizzes and execution gave us the opportunity to showcase our skills.”

During the competition, the Hard Rockers competed in challenges presented in surprise tests, mission planning, briefing, and execution of advanced fighter integration and large force employment against robust integrated Air Defense Systems to take home the coveted team award.

“Take the camaraderie, lessons learned and the spirit of competition from this week back home,” said Lt. Gen. Russ Mack, deputy commander of Air Combat Command. “Challenge yourselves to improve your units, improve your units to increase mission readiness, and increase mission readiness to develop a culture of competitive endurance.” 

The week-long event showcased the air-to-air capabilities of the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II and F-15 Eagle and Strike Eagle units representing various Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Force and Air National Guard units.  

The William Tell competition tested the Airmen’s training, stressed mission generation, and confirmed that through innovation and the evolution of battle management and command and control, Airmen remain postured to sustain a force ready to meet national threats.

“We must keep our adversaries continually arriving at the realization that today is not the day,” said Lt. Gen. Mack. “Not the day to mess with the United States of America and not the day to mess with the U.S. Air Force. The best in the world and second to none.”

The William Tell competition was named after the legendary Swiss archer and was previously a biennial competition that encouraged the most challenging air-to-air scenarios since 1954. The meet was placed on hold for the past 19 years because of military operations tempo and contingency requirements.