621st CRG, 688th RPOE demonstrate JTF-PO capabilities during TD 21-2

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Group alongside Soldiers from the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element, executed Exercise Turbo Distribution 21-2 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, March 24-31.

Turbo Distribution is a U.S. Transportation Command directed exercise to evaluate joint task force port opening capabilities and readiness.

"JTF-PO represents an on-call first response capability for the USTRANSCOM commander to open an aerial port of debarkation anywhere in the world,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Mollis, 621st CRG deputy commander. “Exercise Turbo Distribution is our means to access training and ensure readiness for this vital national security mission.”

For TD 21-2, USTRANSCOM established a JTF-PO aerial port of debarkation in response to a humanitarian aid and disaster relief request from the fictional nation of Bengalia after a severe earthquake.

Throughout the scenario, CRG forces processed simulated relief supplies to support Bengalians in need at different locations. The cargo was received and processed at the port and loaded on U.S. Army transport vehicles for distribution to a forward node.

Exercise evaluators, or white cell, assessed the JTF’s ability to operate through various scenarios that could affect operations during a real-world contingency.

"There were several injects that shut down strategic or key portions of our logistic nodes," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Berthelotte, 321st Contingency Response Squadron commander. "Our combined joint team determined different routes for the cargo and planes to travel to continue receiving aid during contested operations."

Also, members of the 321st Contingency Response Squadron participating in the exercise demonstrated the readiness to take over the upcoming alert cycle, completed several upgrade certifications, and evaluated a new Universal Tent System.

“The exercise provided a great opportunity to accelerate change through experimentation with new equipment and command relationships,” Mollis said. “Through experimentation, we ensure that the JTF-PO force is ready for both today and tomorrow’s mission.”

The 621st CRG deploys to austere locations as an autonomous unit capable of conducting operations until follow-on forces can be established. Airmen deploy as elements or teams consisting of mission-capable Airmen from several Air Force Specialty Codes to include maintenance, aerial port, communication, weather, emergency management, public affairs, and command and control.

Ultimately, the 621st CRG wants U.S. leadership and partner nations to know it is prepared for joint operations in contested environments.

"The CRG and RPOE both proved why this mission is important," said U.S. Army Maj. Eric Ahle, 688th RPOE commander. "We can get in rapidly and deliver the supplies with the throughput that is required if a disaster were to occur, we can support the people of any nation. The CRG and us have learned how to work together and get synergy, and I am looking forward to training with them in the future."