521 CRS, 621 CRS participate in Exercise Storm Flag

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Anastasia Tompkins
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 621st and 521st Contingency Response Squadrons participated in Exercise Storm Flag in Alexandria, Louisiana in support of the 10th  Mountain Division’s deployment certification and scheme of maneuver. 

“We tested our limits for landing zone air traffic capacity, landing zone distresses monitoring, MPU-5 implementation with beyond line of sight communication to aircraft, and a drop zone control coverage for the 10th Mountain Division to accomplish their certification,” Master Sgt. John Morris, 621st Contingency Response Squadron airfield manager, said.

The Contingency Response Element (CRE), operating out of Alexandria International Airport, maintained control of the ramp and parking plan, conducted Joint Inspections of cargo, processing personnel, provided ramp security, and maintained command and control (C2) in coordination with the Air Mobility Division, Wing Operations Center, and 10th Mountain Division. Two Contingency Response Teams (CRT), operating out of Landing Zone Geronimo, exercised a forward deployed airstrip in a contested environment with elevated enemy threats. The team’s role was to receive the 10th Mountain Division’s personnel, equipment and vehicles.

“Our primary learning objectives were management of cargo and personnel with a large amount of airflow,” Lt. Col. Andrew Nation, 621st Contingency Response Squadron commander, said. “We worked  six aircraft simultaneously for 24 hours at Alexandria and two aircraft simultaneously for 24 hours at the Geronimo Landing Zone, exercising force protection competencies, integrating with the Royal Canadian Air Force to execute landing zone and drop zone operations, and conducting special fueling operations.”

The exercise also provided the opportunity to implement new technology for the Contingency Response Wing (CRW) as well as allow the 10th Mountain Division a new operational capability.

“One of the new experiences at Storm Flag is the ability to get hands-on practice and gain proficiency with our new communication capabilities, including Starshield and MPU-5 radios with TAK,” Nation said. “Additionally, this exercise is the 10th Mountain Division’s first time conducting a large force movement via air.”

Storm Flag provided a platform for joint partners to explode into theatre and execute an elaborate mission. The ability to coordinate with allies and partners encouraged the open flow of tactics and procedures for more efficient operations in the future.

“This exercise continues to illustrate the importance of joint integration, specifically battlespace awareness and Common Operating Picture TTPs, which are executed between our CRE and CRT forces with 10th Mountain Division tactical C2 nodes,” Nation said. “In addition, our ability to communicate across multiple platforms will continue to refine our PACE plan as we prepare for Great Power Competition and drive increased threat preparedness within the CRW.”