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Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW readiness for future conflict

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force Capt. Cameron Vickroy, 40th Airlift Squadron instructor pilot, looks out of the cockpit while wearing aircrew eye and respiratory protection system gear during Exercise Coarse Grit in Texas, April 8, 2021. The exercise evaluated the 317th AW’s command and control functions with geographically separated forces and their ability to respond to time-sensitive threats and requirements in conventional and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. James Wishart, 40th Airlift Squadron co-pilot, flies a C-130J Super Hercules while wearing aircrew eye and respiratory protection system gear during Exercise Coarse Grit in Texas, April 8, 2021. The AERP system includes a protective hood assembly with a standard oxygen mask and an intercom for communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brandon Lee, 40th Airlift Squadron standards and evaluation loadmaster, right, helps Senior Airman Richard Reyes, 39th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, put on his helmet after they put on their aircrew eye and respiratory protection system gear during Exercise Coarse Grit at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 8, 2021. The AERP is designed for aircrew members to use during operations in a chemical-biological environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. James Wishart, 40th Airlift Squadron co-pilot, dawns an aircrew eye and respiratory protection system mask during Exercise Coarse Grit at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 8, 2021. The exercise enabled Airmen to train in a simulated environment with personnel they may work with during a real-world scenario to increase their readiness to respond to any mission anytime, anywhere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Richard Reyes, 39th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, puts together a blower assembly for aircrew eye and respiratory protection system gear during Exercise Coarse Grit at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 8, 2021. The blower assembly filters the air the person is breathing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

A 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief walks along a wing of a C-130J Super Hercules in a post-flight inspection during Exercise Coarse Grit at Ft. Bliss, Texas, April 7, 2021. Crew chiefs are tasked with ensuring the aircraft is mission ready by conducting day-to-day maintenance that includes diagnosing malfunctions, replacing components and detailed inspections. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brandon Lee, 40th Airlift Squadron standards and evaluation loadmaster, looks out of a C-130J Super Hercules door during a low-cost low-altitude simulated jump training during Exercise Coarse Grit in Texas, April 7, 2021. During personnel airdrops, loadmasters ensure the equipment is set up for service members to successfully parachute out of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. James Wishart, 40th Airlift Squadron co-pilot, puts together chemical gear during Exercise Coarse Grit at Ft. Bliss, Texas, April 7, 2021. Members of the 317th Airlift Wing were tested on their ability to plan their flight schedule to deny, degrade and defeat radar base integrated air defense systems, operate in a chemically contested environment, execute aeromedical evacuation tasks and conduct personnel and equipment drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brandon Lee, 40th Airlift Squadron standards and evaluation loadmaster, loosens an anchor cable line on a C-130J Super Hercules during Exercise Coarse Grit at Ft. Bliss, Texas, April 7, 2021. Loadmasters are responsible for checking the aircraft for any damage or complications, loading and dropping cargo or personnel, helping pilots search for any structures during flight and solving any issues that may arise before and during flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Richard Reyes, 39th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, hooks up an A-frame on the inside of a C-130J Super Hercules during Exercise Coarse Grit at Ft. Bliss, Texas, April 7, 2021. An A-frame holds the anchor cable lines that personnel use to parachute out of an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict
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Two C-130J Super Hercules sit on a flightline during Exercise Coarse Grit at Ft. Bliss, Texas, April 7, 2021. C-130J aircrafts performs the tactical portion of airlift missions that include aeromedical evacuations, airdrops and personnel drops. The exercise evaluated the ability of 317th AW’s members to respond to time-sensitive threats and requirements in conventional and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense environments and their ability to generate a four-ship airdrop within a minimum timeframe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict
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Aircrew members with the 317th Airlift Wing conduct a preflight inspection inside the cockpit of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft during Exercise Coarse Grit at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 7, 2021. The aircrew members were tested on their ability to plan their flight schedule to deny, degrade and defeat radar base integrated air defense systems and operate in a chemically contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict
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A member of the 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron performs a preflight inspection on a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 5, 2021. Crew chiefs are tasked with ensuring the aircraft is mission ready by conducting day-to-day maintenance that includes diagnosing malfunctions, replacing components and detailed inspections. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

Ex COARSE GRIT: Elevating 317th AW Readiness for Future Conflict
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jacob Smith, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion journeyman, moves the propeller blades during a preflight inspection at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, April 5, 2021. Members of the 317th AMXS ensured the four C-130J Super Hercules aircraft were prepared to fly during the exercise within 36 hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 317th Airlift Wing continued its emphasis on Full Spectrum Readiness during Exercise COARSE GRIT, April 5-8, 2021.  Integrating with Total Force partners from the 433rd Airlift Wing, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and the 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, the 317th AW rehearsed its wartime mission while simulating expected future threat environments.

As the second exercise in the 317th’s GRIT Exercise Series, COARSE GRIT evaluated a number of diverse objectives in context with Great Power Competition and an ability to survive and operate.  Included focus items were the Wing’s proficiency in minimum-timeframe force presentation, as well as aircrew ability to respond to and operate against likely threats in dynamic upcoming scenarios.  The 317th AW also exercised their ability to command and control geographically separated forces, furthering their proficiency in Agile Combat Employment.

“Conducting an exercise like this is particularly valuable for our Airmen to gain more exposure and experience in complicated operational settings,” said Maj. Matthew Gabso, 317th AW exercise director. “This assessment also provided an opportunity to expand their competence toward a great power competition type of conflict in a contested or degraded environment.”

During COARSE GRIT, aircrew members were tested on their ability to plan combat missions in order to deny, degrade and defeat radar-based integrated air-defense systems, operate under chemical contamination, conduct personnel and equipment airdrops, and execute casualty evacuation missions.  Likewise, 317th Maintenance Group personnel ensured that the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft were ready for combat within a minimum timeframe and continued to employ and sustain combat operations throughout the exercise.

“We are never sure what tomorrow will bring,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Lee, 40th Airlift Squadron evaluator loadmaster. “Exercises like this show us what we excel at and what we can improve on to ensure that we are ready to respond to any real-world situations.”

Personnel from the 317th AW, 433rd AES and 911th AES also conducted an aeromedical evacuation mission from a location simulated as chemically contaminated.  During this AE training scenario, casualties were transported from Ft. Bliss to Kelly Field, Texas.  This allowed Airmen to train with personnel they may work with during real-world contingencies, increasing readiness to respond to any situation, anytime, anywhere.

“This was a dynamic opportunity for us to work alongside aircrew members during an aeromedical evacuation scenario,” said Capt. Rockie Carter, 433rd AES readiness officer in-charge. “We now have better insight on how we can better work together in the future.”

When the crews and maintainers know their limitations, they’ll be better prepared to get the C-130J mission done in combat.

“When we strive for realism in a full-scale exercise like this, it exposes vulnerabilities that may otherwise go undetected,” Gabso said.  “Integrating real-life medical personnel to the exercise paid the same dividends as the rest of the scenario-based complexities.”