MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
For around a week, the skies over MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, buzzed with the sounds of HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, as the base hosted a Joint Force deployment readiness exercise.
The 512th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and the 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, transported the assets needed by the 305th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan, Air Force Base, Arizona, using a C-5 Super Galaxy and two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in a show of total force mobility.
U.S. Air Force Reserve Airmen and U.S. Army Special Forces have made MacDill’s Deployed Unit Complex their temporary home for the exercise as MacDill is the ideal location for the operations taking place at Avon Park Air Force Range, Fla. Resources available on the base and in the Tampa Bay area provide all the necessities for successful mission completion for the units.
“It’s been very beneficial being at MacDill, especially with the facilities available here,” said a U.S. Army Special Forces captain who could not be named to preserve operation security. “Being here provides different environments than we are used to.”
The 305th RQS conducted readiness operations at Avon Park and over Tampa Bay. By teaming with Special Forces, each provide a hand in honing their respective units’ deployment readiness.
“We don’t get as many chances to train with the Air Force, so integrating with the 305th RQS in the air and on the ground has been beneficial to our training,” said the Special Forces captain.
The time spent at MacDill is crucial for the aircrews to get up to date with the training qualifications and provides the additional benefit of an unfamiliar environment.
“We don’t really get a chance to do a lot of water work in Tucson, [Arizona], so we’re here to get water certification and train in an unfamiliar area to help better prepare for deployments,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve 1st Lt. Scott Lauth, a 305th RQS HH-60 Pave Hawk co-pilot. “You need to be able to be ready at all times for what needs to be done, but if you’re going to get a bit better you have to be doing it consistently. That’s the only way to improve.”
With a Joint Force exercise involving several units across the Department of Defense comes meticulous planning to ensure every aspect of the training day runs smoothly.
“There’s a huge mobility piece that many of our squad had to figure out,” said Lauth. “From getting the aircraft here and unloaded and maintenance making sure that they’re ready for every flight, every day. It’s a huge workload just to make sure that all those things come together in harmony.”
With a mission of providing unmatched installation and mission support, MacDill is proud to be a host for outside units.
“It’s been awesome that we’re so close to the water and we can get out almost every day, MacDill and the area has just been really accommodating to us being able to go out and complete our training, come back and go out multiple times a day,” said Lauth. “It’s been great training and I look forward to doing it in the future if we get the chance.”
It takes a lot of heavy lifting to host a wide range of missions, but Team MacDill ensures the best quality support anytime, anywhere.