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Mobility Airmen exercise readiness with 82nd Airborne Division

  • Published
  • By Marvin Krause
  • 43rd Airlift Group public affairs
Air Mobility Command Airmen and aircraft joined forces with U.S. Army paratroopers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, for an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise here Jan. 27.

Five U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, and en-route support Airmen from the 43rd Airlift Group, participated in the exercise to support the airlift and airdrop of 500 Army paratroopers on to Wright Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Georgia, in less than 20 hours from notification.

"We train to this periodically, specifically, in large aircraft formations that a five-ship brings to the fight," said Maj. Steve Lee, the Air Force mission commander for this exercise from the 14th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. "I coordinate between our airlift package that we have airborne and the Army's airborne ground forces mission commander to make sure we get the troops to where they need to be in order to affect their scheme of maneuvers on the ground to facilitate the airfield seizure," Lee said.

The exercise provided mobility Airmen with the opportunity to train with the 82nd Abn. Div. whose battalion-sized units are evaluated periodically on how well they conduct more complex missions, such as airfield seizures, noncombatant evacuation operations, night attacks and air assault operations.

"The objective of this exercise is to increase our readiness in the joint forcible entry capabilities for the 82nd Airborne Division," said Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, 82nd Abn. Div. commander. "The measure of success for our paratroopers will be getting safely out of the aircraft, being able to assemble and then being able to secure this airfield so they can allow for follow-on forces to land."

As the nucleus of the nation's Global Response Force, the 82nd Abn. Div. provides a strategic hedge for combatant commanders with a responsive, agile and operationally significant response force that is flexible in size and composition to accomplish missions anywhere in the world.

"We do EDREs on this scale about two to three times a year," Clarke said.

Clarke also commented about the relationship and training conducted with the Air Force during this exercise.

"It is the most important relationship we have. We have to work our relationship, we have to practice and that's why we are here tonight with our Air Force brethren. We have to work with them to make this capability a reality for our nation," Clarke said.

By interacting and working closely with their joint partners, Mobility Airmen are able to develop refinements to processes and procedures that can potentially enhance the effectiveness of real-world operations.

"It takes a team to execute this mission--operators, maintainers, mission support, Airmen, Soldiers and civilians--it doesn't matter what uniform they wear, they come together to get the mission accomplished," said Col. Kenneth Moss, 43rd Airlift Group commander.

Air Mobility Command's participation in this EDRE allows the assessment and certification of the combat readiness of Air Force strategic airlift, contingency, and support forces in one of the most demanding mission sets they execute: large formation airdrop. In many ways it is a "symphony" of Mobility Air Forces carefully orchestrated with our Army partners.