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Pope AAF launches first Storm Flag exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Solomon Cook
  • 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group Public Affairs

The 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group prepped and launched assets during Storm Flag 24-05 from March 3-16, 2024. The exercise, being Air Mobility Command’s newest joint-credited exercise, was focused on cargo and personnel delivery. 

The 14-day exercise aligned with AMC's Great Power Competition doctrine revolved around developing people by consolidating force development functions and Mission Ready Airmen.

“Storm Flag is intended to prepare forces for employment in Great Power Competition environments,” said Lt. Col. Justin Borgerding, 34th Combat Training Squadron director of operations. “[The exercise] allows mission partners to practice using current standard operating procedures or develop a new way forward if required to enable mission success during Great Power Competition.”

Members from Team Pope staged and prepared both cargo and aircraft in a similar fashion to when Task Force Gryphon is activated -- a troop and asset generation process accomplished at Pope. Testing capabilities like this in controlled scenarios aid in building the muscle memory for real-world application. 

“Storm Flag is designed to be one of the many exercise venues used to train and certify force elements for [Force Genearation] rotational availability.” said Col. Chuck Morris, 43rd AMOG commander. “Our first iteration launched from Pope and executed at Fort Johnson, Louisiana. It included Airmen from Dyess Air Force Base and Joint Base Lewis-McChord who previously executed Battalion Mass-Tactical Week training here at Pope in preparation for their certification event. They have built habitual relationships with the U.S. Army and the 43rd AMOG’s combat training squadrons to tailor, modify and enhance their own training and certification and create familiarity with their cross-service partners.”

“Relationships matter – and teamwork is a graded event. Pairing units for evolutions of training and certification and guiding them via the combat training squadrons in the newest Joint-Credited Exercise creates ideal conditions to evaluate and eventually certify our Airmen for combat readiness and deployment,” Morris explained.

Reiterating the importance of teamwork and understanding, members from the 34th CTS leadership spoke as to the how mission planning fits into mass movements of assets and interoperability on a global scale. To enable the fluidity of the exercise, the 34th CTS played an integral role in ensuring mission success.

“Operational Planning allows regular mission partners to understand capabilities and limitations of each other as well as the environment they are expected to operate in,” Borgerding said. “Prior planning enables success in execution, and ensuring the executing forces engage in direct planning will achieve joint and coalition objectives.”

“Planning is a negotiation process which requires all parties to understand capabilities and limitations,” Borgerding elaborated. “If we know what to expect in execution, we can prepare our forces or a partner force to react in a predictable manner. Building contracts in planning sets clear expectations and enables joint and coalition objective accomplishment.”

Throughout the two-week event, Airmen from across AMC ensured the safe delivery of thousands of pounds of cargo and hundreds of members from the 82nd Airborne Division housed at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. At the conclusion of the event, the joint effort bolstered the skills and talent needed for Great Power Competition and furthermore rapid global mobility –  anytime, anywhere.