521st, 621st CRS participates in Emerald Warrior 2024

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Malissa Lott
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing

The 521st and 621st Contingency Response Squadrons participated in Emerald Warrior at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, March 3-16, 2024.

Emerald Warrior is an Air Force Special Operations Command-led exercise meant to provide large-scale joint training scenarios simulating a build-up of hostilities against a more complex near-peer threat. The exercise saw operations out of New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado consisting of units from Air Force Special Operations Command, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the 621st Contingency Response Group. This year’s iteration of Emerald Warrior is the first time the 621st Contingency Response Wing has participated.

“The opportunity to integrate with AFSOC and other joint partners during Emerald Warrior is not only beneficial to the development of Airmen of the 621 CRG but also facilitated further discussions between senior leaders on joint employment of contingency response and special operations forces as we shift focus towards Great Power Competition,” Lt. Col. Jacob Becker, 521st CRS commander said. “This was a unique opportunity to grow and instill a sense of empowerment for our enlisted Airmen and officers, who will lead our joint forces into the future.”

The 621st Contingency Response Wing calls for airmen to be a Community of Ready Warriors. Emerald Warrior fostered integration in a joint environment increasing the wing’s readiness and partnership capabilities.

“This is a great opportunity for our contingency response airmen who are focused on becoming a platform-agnostic force,” Lt. Col. Collin Lohr, Contingency Response Element commander said. “We’ve worked with Air Mobility Command aircraft for years but we intend to branch out of our comfort zone. During Emerald Warrior, our maintainers have marshaled helicopters, airfield controllers have handled new aircraft and our aerial porters learned how to operate within AFSOC systems.”

Lohr said this is the new standard for AMC and is critical to operating in future conflicts.

“Our assessment team partnered with the U.S. Army who flew a total of 13 airmen, their equipment and two vehicles via Chinook to a nearby dirt landing zone,” Lohr said. “Our team was able to assess if the landing zone could support AMC aircraft such as a C-130 or C-17. This was incredibly realistic training for the team.”

Practicing CR operations in an exercise environment is vital for honing the skills of both the individual and the unit as a whole to seamlessly operate in a real-world event.

“Most airmen don’t have the opportunity to open an airfield and assist with the employment of special forces such as we did over the past couple of weeks,” Becker said. “Emerald Warrior allowed the men and women of the 521 CRS and sister squadrons to truly understand the meaning of working in an austere environment, assisting in their growth as CR airmen and introducing them to joint operations they otherwise may not have participated in during their career.”

“We must take advantage of every joint interaction, to advance integration efforts and command relationships across the spectrum of conflict,” Becker said.