ALEXANDRIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, La. – Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing stationed at Travis Air Force Base, California, conducted joint training with Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division (Falcon Brigade), to provide direct air-land support for safe and efficient airfield operations during the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) exercise here, April 5-16.
During JRTC 18-06, the contingency response element (CRE) established an intermediate staging base to support the Falcon Brigade’s movement of equipment and troops for the exercise.
“As much as this exercise is a great opportunity for us to train and season our Airmen, the overall goal is to successfully execute the training objectives of the supported Army units,” said Capt. Deke Richardson, 921st Contingency Response Squadron assistant director of operations. “They need to understand that their performance directly influences the combat readiness of the deploying Army units.”
The exercise highlighted partnerships between the U.S. Air Force, Army, and coalition partners from New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
“The Royal New Zealand air force contingent is here to exercise tactical air and ground support operations and to foster closer working relationships with our coalition partners,” said Flight Lieutenant Josh Wood, Royal New Zealand air force, air movements officer.
According to Richardson, these joint and coalition relationships are vital to a successful mission execution.
“Whether training in exercises or operating together in combat, building relationships and establishing strong lines of communication between partners is the only way to ensure mission success,” he said.
The exercise has also provided Airmen an opportunity to test their training skills at night.
“Operating at night and in low light conditions is a vital part of our mobility readiness,” Richardson said. “We train and are equipped to provide rapid global mobility in any environment while in any conditions.”
Even though the 621st CRW participates in multiple JRTC exercises every year, Richardson said this year the training was specifically planned to exceed previous exercises in terms of the amount of aircraft used, the quantity of cargo moved, and number of paratroopers delivered.
“It also provided Airmen the opportunity to train in a high stress and high tempo environment with sister services as well as other nations,” he added. “They have never worked with these specific units in the past, so it required the team to quickly establish strong working relationships with their joint partners and figure out how to effectively execute the mission together.”
The 621st 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 taskings to disaster relief, the CRW extends Air Mobility Command's reach in deploying people and equipment around the globe.