Contingency Response Team Plays Vital Role in Bamboo Eagle

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Tristan McIntire
  • 621 CRW

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Airmen from the 321st Contingency Response Squadron participated in Exercise Bamboo Eagle at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California where they showcased the prowess of air combat teams in staging practice combat operations across various locations.

Tasked with setting up airfield operations before the arrival of fighter jets from RED FLAG in Nevada, this contingency response team, or CRT, from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey played a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless execution of aerial maneuvers, while exercising its own situation-based “airbase opening” capabilities.

"We start when we land, setting up our temporary facilities, radios, security, and everything else we need to run an airfield. We don't rest until we're fully ready to start receiving transport aircraft, cargo, and tactical aircraft,” CRT chief Tech Sgt. Sergio Brill said.

Comprising roughly 25 personnel, CRTs exemplify the Air Force's emphasis of mission-ready airmen where members are trained in multiple specialties, enabling a compact yet versatile team structure. Led by enlisted noncommissioned officers, these teams are adept at executing contingency response missions, pivotal in swiftly establishing or dismantling airfield operations in dynamic environments.

During Exercise Bamboo Eagle, airmen from the 321st Contingency Response Squadron provided real-world aerial transport support and ground security for the 510th Fighter Squadron from Aviano Air Base, Italy. In addition to this operational support, the CRT conducted their own training in various support operations, including aircraft maintenance, meteorology, and fuels.

Reflecting on the significance of their mission, Tech Sgt. Deven Morgan noted parallels with past deployments, such as the closure of operations at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

"When we shut down an airfield, we're the last people on the ground," Morgan said. "We load the last cargo into the last aircraft. And depending on the security situation, our own CRT security forces will cover the operation and be the last on the jet. Like at Bagram, we were the last on board the aircraft. We closed the door and found a place to sit on the floor among the refugees."

As the 510th Fighter Squadron completed their training missions and departed, the CRT wrapped up their operations, loading the final C-17 Globemaster III aircraft of the exercise at that location. With their contributions pivotal to the success of Exercise Bamboo Eagle at NAS Point Mugu, the exercise underscored the invaluable role of contingency response teams in enhancing the Air Force's expeditionary capabilities.