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Air Force, Army exercise joint readiness

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jamie Powell
  • USAF Expeditionary Center

Airmen with the 43d Air Mobility Operations Group along with the 437th Airlift Wing out of Joint Base Charleston were instrumental in supporting the 82nd Airborne Division during All American Week here May 25.


Nearly 18 C-17 Globemaster IIIs flew from JB Charleston to pick up heavy cargo and 2,000 paratroopers to deliver them to a drop zone on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Months of preparation went into this large-scale airdrop to showcase the joint capabilities of the Air Force and Army.


“The 43d AMOG has been outstanding for us; we literally couldn't do airborne operations without them,” said U.S. Army Maj. Travis Stellfox, 82nd ABN director of Airborne Operations. “They have been involved in this planning effort from the beginning.”


Every year, 82nd ABN Soldiers celebrate their heritage with a week of competitions and camaraderie between the old and new paratroopers. The week culminates with an airdrop as well as other demonstrations by the 82nd.


“All American Week is a celebration, primarily for 82nd Airborne Division who is also celebrating their 100th anniversary, but it's also about training and it's about joint training,” said Col. Kelly Holbert, 43d AMOG commander. “There are training requirements that are going to be executed for the Army and for those Air Mobility Command crews that are coming here to fly.”


Being co-located allows the 43d AMOG along with 18th Airborne Corps and 82nd ABN to train together every day to provide the nation with an around the clock global response force.


“I really believe our Airmen understand how critical they are to this joint process here at Pope and that we are part of a larger team,” said Holbert. “This is about providing joint comprehensive readiness out of Pope Field both for our Army counterparts and for our AMC crews. This is about providing a capability to National command authority that's ready to go 24/7, 365 days a year, and our Airmen take that to heart.


Many of the processes the units execute on a daily basis are very similar to the training and preparation that went into All American Week.


“It's always great to show the people, and specifically the former paratroopers, what we're capable of as a joint force, but I think the greatest value is really in the training aspect,” said Stellfox.


“Whether we're executing a training mission or we're executing a real-world combat operation, the process for loading AMC aircraft and prepping Army equipment and personnel to go down range or to go to the drop zone are very, very similar,” said Holbert.


Unfortunately, dangerously high winds forced the mission leaders to cancel the paratrooper's jump for safety precautions, but that didn't stop everyone involved from gaining invaluable training and experience throughout the week.