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Pope Airmen team with Dyess, McChord to facilitate mass tactical exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Susan Roberts
  • 7th Bomb Wing, Public Affairs

Airmen from the 43d Air Mobility Operations Group here supported three C-130J Super Hercules from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, three C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and more than 2,100 Army paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division during a Battalion Mass Tactical Week here July 12-20, 2018.

BMTW is a tactical joint exercise between the Air Force and the Army designed to enhance both services' abilities to practice contingency operations in a controlled stateside environment. 

“Battalion Mass Tac Week is all about practicing and rehearsing for real scenarios,” said Lt. Col. Blair Allen, commander of the 40th Airlift Squadron at Dyess. “We have that ability, so if our nation asks us to execute this mission set that no one else in the world can do, we can do it. This is both a strategic and tactical objective.”

Starting in 1917, the 82nd Airborne’s mission has evolved to strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault and secure key objectives in support of U.S. national interests within 18 hours of notification. However, without the help of transport aircraft from Air Mobility Command, the 82nd Airborne wouldn’t be able execute this mission to get where they need to go. The 317th Airlift Wing out of Dyess, and the 62nd Airlift Wing out of Lewis-McChord, along with other airlift units throughout AMC, would play a key role in executing that mission. 

The C-130J is a versatile aircraft capable of holding approximately 70 Army paratroopers, delivering Soldiers around the world. The C-130J can also be converted to hold up to 92 combat troops, 74 patient litters, six equipment pallets, or a combination of these to fit the needs of the mission. The C-17 is the most flexible aircraft to enter the airlift force, and is designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and their accompanying equipment, among other capabilities. 

While working with the 82nd Airborne Soldiers, Pope, Dyess and McChord Airmen quickly and safely completed training tasks, such as personnel and cargo uploads and airdrops, and an aeromedical evacuation with the 43d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron which simulated a real-life emergency situation from start to finish.

“It’s imperative that we work together. In the grand scheme of things, we all play a certain role in executing the mission, whatever that mission may be,” said Senior Airman David Heinz, 40th AS C-130J loadmaster. “With a joint force, we are able to pool together our expertise and more successfully execute the mission.”

BMTW implemented a mixed formation with the C-130J’s and C-17s to target small drop zones in a restricted environment, challenging the expertise of the mission planners and those executing the mission. Despite challenges of weather, timelines and effective communication, participants continued to be flexible and resilient to successfully complete BMTW.

“The team knocked it out of the park,” said Allen. “It’s a blessing to be able to lead this entire team, not just here at Dyess, but also the team from McChord. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”