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A Royal Canadian Air Force C-130J taxis to a parking spot in order to offload cargo during GREEN FLAG 16-04, Feb. 17, 2016, at the Geronimo Landing Zone on Fort Polk, La. Approximately 50 Canadians and two of their C-130Js participated in the large-scale, joint air mobility exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Harry Brexel)
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GREEN FLAG 16-04: Improving Combat Airlift from ground up

Posted 2/25/2016   Updated 2/25/2016 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/25/2016 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 34th Combat Training Squadron recently planned, coordinated and conducted one of Air Mobility Command's largest rotational exercises.

GREEN FLAG 16-04 crews transitioned from Little Rock Air Force Base to the exercise's staging base in Alexandria, Louisiana for sorties supporting Army operations at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

The training operation lasted nine days and ended Wednesday, 24 Feb. GREEN FLAG exercises provide the most realistic, tactical-level, joint combat training tailored to the needs of Mobility Air Forces.

The event kicked off at "zero-dark-thirty" Feb. 16, with a mass static-line personnel drop of approximately 800 Soldiers jumping from AMC aircraft.

The frantic pace continued throughout the week as aircrews encountered dirt landing zones and performed a plethora of airlift missions with diversified cargo loads. Loadmasters worked hand-in-hand with Soldiers to load, unload and drop various cargo, including Humvees, M119 light howitzer guns, combat construction vehicles, fuel trucks and Container Delivery System bundles.

Airmen from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Travis Air Force Base, California; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Great Falls Air National Guard Base, Montana, participated in the exercise.

As one of the Air Force's newest C-130 squadrons, the 186th Airlift Squadron from the Montana Air National Guard participated in GREEN FLAG 16-04 operations. Two C-130H aircrews performed tactical airlift operations during the exercise in preparation for the Hercules squadron's first deployment later this year.

"GREEN FLAG provides an opportunity for us to lay a foundation and improve our combat airlift capabilities," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Oxenford, 186th Airlift Squadron loadmaster evaluator. "It includes intratheater training that we don't normally get and allows us to improve our partnerships with active-duty partners along with NATO and Army units."

Approximately 60 members from the Royal Canadian Air Force's 436 Transport Squadron flew daily from Little Rock AFB to central Louisiana to participate in the exercise on two of their C-130Js.

U.S. and Canadian Airmen launched 14 missions per day for seven consecutive days in support of personnel at JRTC.

Airmen on the ground at JRTC at Fort Polk practiced several other combat-related events throughout the week such as aeromedical evacuations and survival, evasion, resistance and escape training.

"GREEN FLAG 16-04 pushed the largest airlift package I have seen in my tenure at the 34th CTS," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Bryant Jarrell, 34th CTS exercise director. "Our squadron's observer-coach-trainer cadres enabled training opportunities for international Mobility Air Force partners, multiple unique SERE events and deployment preparation for Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard components in an unparalleled progressive combat tactics scenario." 

GREEN FLAG 16-04 generated improved crew and mission management, situational awareness, operational planning and interagency communication needed in today's joint contingency environment.

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