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43d AMOG Airmen, 82nd ABN Soldiers enable joint forcible entry exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.-- Mobility forces partnered with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for a joint forcible entry exercise Aug. 2 here and at Moses Lake as part of Exercise Mobility Guardian. 

Thirteen C-17 Globemaster III, 19 C-130 Hercules and 10 air refueling aircraft from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. enabled the mission, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Judd Baker, 43rd Operations Support Squadron commander, Pope Field, North Carolina.

Personnel from the 82nd ABN, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group, Pope Airfield, North Carolina, prepared and inspected heavy cargo to ensure it was airworthy prior to the mission, he added.

During the operation, partnerships between the Air Force and the Army were capitalized on to airdrop equipment and 377 Soldiers into an austere airfield at Moses Lake to exercise the global response force.

“Every time there’s an airborne assault, we’re using the Air Force,” said Army Lt. Col. Ricky Taylor, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment battalion commander. “The joint planning and collaboration between the staffs and the commands is imperative. 

“We have a good working relationship, but we always need to hone our planning processes and overall skills,” he continued. “What we don’t want is atrophy throughout the force.”

Once the 82nd ABN secured the airfield, they transitioned control to 821st Contingency Response Group personnel, who then began air base opening operations to safely land aircraft at the site. Exercises of this nature are necessary to ensure the branches are able to operate together seamlessly in real-world situations. 

“Practice makes perfect, and that’s why we need this kind of exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Ryan Strength, an air mobility liaison officer assigned to the 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron. “Not everything goes as planned the first time, and the way we find that out is through execution.

“We’re not going to find all the limiting factors to any kind of scenario unless we actually practice it,” Strength added. “You can always get better at something, and the more opportunities we have to train, the better equipped we’re going to be for when we’re actually fighting a war.”