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Mobility Airmen exercise ACE, joint force integration in Indo-Pacific

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- As part of an effort to maximize Mobility Air Forces and Combat Air Forces integration as well as enhance agile combat employment capabilities in the Indo-Pacific theater, a contingent of Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing participated in an off-station training exercise at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, March 29 – April 7.

Led by the 41st Airlift Squadron, alongside Airmen from the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 19th Operations Support Squadron, Airmen completed 24 sorties, 88 flying hours, and more than 700 training events during the OST.

This training afforded C-130J Super Hercules’ aircrews the opportunity to further enhance their capabilities and receive hands-on experience with equipment, procedures, and personnel that they do not typically see while at home-station or downrange during deployments.

“Our main goal was to challenge and train our aircraft commander upgrade students by exposing them to different threat based scenarios,” said Capt. Lionel Alford, 41st AS instructor pilot and OST deputy mission commander. “By training in an environment that is completely different than the one we are familiar with, we are able to expand the boundaries of our tactics, techniques and procedures.”

The 10-day training exercise began with the integration of F-22 Raptors from the 19th Fighter Squadron, simulating an engagement from fighter aircraft and testing the C-130J’s defensive systems while enhancing ACE concepts in support of the joint and combined warfighter.

While conducting operations out of JBPHH, Airmen also had the chance to work hand-in-hand with the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division, building upon their ability to integrate with joint forces by providing airlift support to the unit — transporting personnel and equipment, including the M777 Howitzer, into a simulated combat zone.

“This OST offered our loadmasters a great opportunity to work with some of the non-standard missions we are tasked with,” said Senior Airman Kirk Mumau, 41st AS instructor loadmaster. “When we’re at home-station and even during deployments, we traditionally haul cargo most of the time, so this gave them the hands-on experience necessary to learn a new skillset.”

Falling under the scope of ACE core competencies, aircrews also provided wet-wing defuel training to U.S. Marines at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and provided airlift support for U.S. Navy special operations forces who performed high-altitude low-opening jumps.

“All of the training we participated in allowed us to hone our full spectrum readiness and joint interoperability,” Alford said. “The working relationship that we built with the 25th Infantry Division, the Marines out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the Navy SEALs, and our other Air Force partners allowed us to exercise our abilities as the 19th Airlift Wing and 41st AS and deliver on our motto of anywhere, anytime.”

Alford added that this OST serves as an example of the 19th AW’s commitment to project and sustain agile combat airlift in any area of responsibility and successfully integrate its personnel and resources to accomplish the mission no matter the tasking.

“It's easy to get used to performing what we do at home station, so it’s important to take that on the road and apply our lessons learned in a different environment,” Alford said. “It is vital to expose our members to working with different units and strive to advance joint integration to ensure that we, as well as any other unit we work with, can better project and sustain combat forces across the world in support of the Department of Defense.”