Contingency response groups worldwide collaborate for real-world operation.

  • Published
  • By 1 Lt. Cassidy Fisher
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Contingency response groups from across the Air Force recently came together at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to mission plan for a real-world operation, building a stronger partnership within the contingency response forces in the process.


In December 2023, Air Mobility Command deployed 160 airmen from units across Travis AFB’s own 821st Contingency Response Group (CRG) and 621st CRG from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, on a rapid timeline to integrate with their Ramstein counterparts, the 435th CRG. There, the CRGs and regional joint forces planned and executed contingency operations at multiple locations.


“Although each CR unit had a specific mission and location, that didn’t stop us from planning together, supporting each other, and also learning from each other,” Col. Pat Rayner, 435th CRG commander said. “We took advantage of our time together.”


This rare opportunity for units from geographically distant CRGs to operate together in one location allowed commanders and airmen of all ranks to integrate and learn how each group operates. The real-world objective of the collective CRG cadre was to plan and execute initial operations for multiple airfields in support of U.S. European Command.


“We were assigned to the same operation, working with a joint task force,” said Col. Jeffrey Krulick, 821st CRG commander. “The ability to come together, forward deploy to Ramstein and work together to do mission planning was crucial so that if we were to execute, we were already linked up and ready to go.”


This example of multi-wing collaboration coincided with the CRG Commander’s Summit at Ramstein. There, group commanders from the 821st CRG, 435th CRG, 621st CRG, 123rd CRG from the Kentucky Air National Guard, 36th CRG from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the 156th CRG from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, met to discuss current issues impacting the CR enterprise. Topics included current operations, command relationships, acceptable level of risk, innovation, and modernization.


Assigned to Air Mobility Command, Travis AFB’s 821st CRG prepares for global operations while the 435th CRG, assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air force Africa operates primarily in the European and African areas of responsibilities (AOR). When a large operation is expected, multiple CRG units can be called into action to bolster mission capabilities.


“Even though we fall under different commands, we’re both CR. It was a unique opportunity to work together and understand similarities and differences,” Krulick said. “Capitalizing on that opportunity, being there with them, creating connections, all of that is invaluable.”


Contingency response airmen are ready to operate in any AOR and are strategically placed around the globe to expediate response time in the event an air operation must take place. The overarching mission of a contingency response unit is to provide high-specialized airmen who are capable of rapidly deploying to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain and coordinate air mobility operations. Rayner said the future of CR and the partnerships built within the force continues to grow stronger.


“While there are differences between each group,” Rayner said, summing up the importance of the summit stating, “the goal of the Commander’s Summit was to ensure that unique capability that is contingency response operations remains consistent across major commands and the Total Force. The collaboration at Ramstein was proof of that concept.”