CRW Airmen get back to basics during JRTC 18-04

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Robert Waggoner
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing

Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing stationed at Travis Air Force Base, California, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, enhanced their readiness during Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) Exercise 18-04.

Approximately 70 Airmen supported the U.S. Army during the exercise by providing rapid air mobility establishing a contingency response element at the Alexandria International Airport and a contingency response team at Fort Polk in Louisiana, to conduct air operations February 5-17.

 “We are playing a small role of a much bigger exercise supporting movement of equipment and troops from an initial staging base, and flying into a simulated hostile country landing zones,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Ott, 621st Contingency Response Support Squadron commander.

This year the 621st CRW added several training objectives to maximize readiness during the exercise, including many Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Environment (CBRNE) training objectives during the two week exercise.

“One of our focus areas is on full spectrum readiness, and our ability to operate in a contested environment,” said Ott. “We are training with the protective gear that would keep us safe in that kind of environment.”

He added that this can add different challenges to the everyday business of contingency response, like communicating through a gas mask, or driving a forklift in mission oriented protective posture gear.


“This is the training you’re going to apply to real world situations,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Brandenburg, 621st CRW airfield manager. “There’s no better place to learn than in this kind of controlled environment, especially for some of these young Airmen out here who have never done this before.”


According to Capt. Peter Callo, 621st CRG office of group training officer, survivability in a CBRNE environment was the focus of the training.


“At a moment’s notice we are worldwide deployable,” Callo said. “We have to be able to operate in any environment, from humanitarian relief to a war environment.”


According to Ott, there are benefits to bringing Airmen from Travis AFB and JB-MDL intermixed and operating as one team.


“It’s an amazing opportunity just to bring those folks together and learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and just operate together in a different way than you might back at home station,” Ott said.


The 621 CRW is highly-specialized in training and rapidly deploying personnel to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain, and coordinate air mobility operations. From wartime tasks to disaster relief, the 621st extends Air Mobility Command's reach deploying people and equipment around the globe.