Contingency response wing pilot soars into real-world operation

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

Contingency Response Airmen are called to perform more than their immediate duties. Home to 42 different Air Force Specialty Codes, the 621st Contingency Response Wing embodies the Mission Capable Airman concept by training Airmen to perform tasks outside of their normal job. An example of this are the rated officers in the Wing. Aviators within the CRW typically serve as pilots second to fulfill their primary leadership duties. While aviation in the CRW is seen as a “secondary” duty, it’s still vital for pilots to stay ready and relevant in their airframe to assist mission’s regardless of the environment.

Recently, a pilot assigned to the CRW utilized his flying skills to conduct real-world contingency operations for his squadron.

Maj. Jacob Draszkiewicz, 321st Contingency Response Squadron director of operations and C-17A Globemaster III aircraft instructor pilot, flew to the International Toussaint Louverture Airport in Haiti in support of the multinational security support (MSS) mission.

Throughout the month of May, the squadron staged at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina and performed daily deployments to Haiti to build the MSS. These mission ready airmen worked with the host nation to successfully conduct the mission.

Contingency response airmen deploy to Haiti to support multinational security support mission

Draszkiewicz’s primary duty within the contingency response wing is to direct contingency operations for his squadron, however his technical expertise as an aviator provides a unique perspective of the dynamicity of the wing.

“Contingency response operations can be complex and dynamic,” Draszkiewicz said. “No two operations are alike.”

Maintaining currency as an aviator within a wing where flying is not the primary focus can be challenging, but contingency response leans on the operationally-focused pilots to plan and execute missions.

“The ability for our pilots and combat systems operators to maintain their qualifications is extremely critical to our Air Force’s mission,” said Col. Jason Herring, 621st CRW commander. “Their ability to fly provides a breadth of experience to a younger aircrew force and delivers additional capacity during heighten flying operations.”

To maintain mission readiness on all levels, the CRW is working to provide opportunities for aviators to continue their skills and remain relevant on their airframe.

“With our reliance on partner mobility wings to deliver us into battle, I recently released wing policy with the goal of increasing our flight frequency and established a Chief Pilot Program to ensure our members are contributing directly to our partner flying wing’s missions,” Herring said.

The purpose of a Chief Pilot Program is to ensure aviators within the CRW stay relevant and proficient in their airframes while also contributing to mission success during real-world events.

“The contingency response mission set is unique and demanding, and the Air Force needs it’s aviators to stay sharp and relevant in the flying community,” Draszkiewicz said.