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Mobility Airmen exercise global response

  • Published
  • By Marvin Krause
  • 43 AG/PA
Hundreds of total force mobility Airmen joined their U.S. Army counterparts to exercise the rapid introduction of forces into hostile environments during exercise Global Response Expeditor here Jan. 6 through Jan. 16.

The exercise brings together forces of United States Transportation Command and the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, alongside elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps to respond as part of the military's Global Response Force.

The GRF is a dedicated joint force able to deploy on short notice anywhere in the world by land, air, or sea to conduct contingency or humanitarian operations in a hostile environment.

During the exercise, mobility crews and aircraft air dropped approximately 1,124 paratroopers and offloaded more than 120 short tons of cargo at drop zones at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La.

"These exercises are great for us and the Army," said Col. Johnnie Martinez, air mission commander from the 19th Operations Group, Little Rock AFB, Ark. "Working together gives us all a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities that we have as part of the GRF."

According to exercise planners, the joint team successfully met all of their training objectives, despite the complexity of the exercise. In addition, the exercise provided an opportunity for Army paratroopers to achieve jump currency just in time for an upcoming overseas deployment.

"This exercise required a lot of integration and planning for all of the different aircraft involved, including the C-17 and C-130s from Charleston, Elmendorf, McChord, McConnell, Little Rock, Dyess, and then all of the other capabilities that needed to go along with them, including the maintenance personnel, ramp coordinators, joint airdrop inspection and intel," said Maj. Joe Bonner, Air Force lead planner from the 61st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark. "I think it was a resounding success, all the way from the loading of the aircraft through execution. Out of 1,124 chutes we delivered 1,073 personnel - more than 95 percent of what the Army provided us as well as all their equipment and container delivery systems. I was very happy with how it turned out."

According to planners, another advantage of the exercise is that through close partnership with their joint partners, Airmen participating in Global Response Expeditor are able to come up with innovative refinements to processes and procedures that can potentially enhance their effectiveness for future contingency operations.

"This exercise was a great opportunity," said Maj. Leonardo Tongko, C-130J Hercules aircraft formation flight lead from the 61st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark. "The things that we don't get to practice a whole lot like joint command and control execution are what we want to continuously prove and work on so that when we actually get in combat, we're that much
more prepared."

Exercise participants included Air Force airlift and air refueling aircraft units from across the country, including C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. Units belonging to the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., included the 570th Contingency Response Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., 817th Contingency Response Group, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and the 43rd Airlift Group, Pope Army Airfield, N.C., participated in the exercise as well.