LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 34th Combat Training Squadron held its latest iteration of Green Flag Little Rock at Alexandria International Airport and Fort Polk, Louisiana, Feb. 2-10, supporting the 82nd Airborne Division’s Joint Readiness Training Center rotation.
The joint exercise, dubbed GFLR 21-04, hosted participants from both the Air Force and Army.
As Air Mobility Command’s only joint-accredited flag level exercise, GFLR seeks to continuously challenge participants’ warfighting skills in emerging concepts of operations and provides real-world experience with partners they may not be able to get at home-station training.
In addition to providing airdrop and airland support to the 82nd AD, GFLR 21-04 featured the first wet-wing defuel of a C-130J Super Hercules within a GFLR exercise — honing the skillset of delivering fuel to use for operations at a forward operating base that does not have an established fuel storage facility.
GFLR 21-04 events also included Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) scenarios, F-15 Eagle integration, a Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) scenario and a sea rescue kit airdrop.
“We are able to give training to our aircrews with equipment that they don’t work with on a daily basis,” said Maj. Darin Boen, exercise director for GFLR 21-04. “The exercise also enabled them to have more experience with Joint users that they would work with and see downrange in a joint fight.”
A proponent of not only Joint integration but Total Force Integration, the 34th CTS also sought to expand the scope of the exercise by flying two C-130Js to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas to train Texas Air National Guardsmen from the 147th Attack Wing on loading operations of an MQ-9 Reaper onto a C-130J.
With an ever-evolving and fluid training syllabus, the 34th CTS continues to incorporate training events that drive change and support the way the Air Force and Joint partners integrate together.
“We worked to incorporate components we do not typically work with to provide a more realistic and challenging crucible of training to the crews.” said Maj. Mathew Coffey, the mission commander for GFLR 21-04. “What we practice in GFLR often requires an aggressive pursuit; missions we need to do in order to see the operational changes necessary to continue to improve the C-130 enterprise.”
Boen said that GFLR continues to build Mobility Airmen’s confidence in expanded mission-sets that will meet tomorrow's national security challenges.
“For some scenarios, we might not have a full regulation that tells us how to do it, but we do our best at thinking through it and try to come up with the safest, most efficient way of accomplishing the task,” Boen said. “Whether it's Agile Combat Employment, wet wing defuels, or hauling cargo that we never hauled before, we strive to remain at the leading edge of operational excellence, able to accomplish any mission in the most efficient way possible.”