TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen from the 821st Contingency Response Group demonstrated agile combat employment capabilities while working with Mobility and Combat Air Forces, during Exercise Rainier War, April 26-30 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Rainier War brings together multiple units from across Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command to test ACE capabilities in a simulated contested and operationally limiting environment.
The ACE concept aims to develop Airmen who are proficient in disciplines outside of their normal day-to-day duties. Exercises like this contribute to the evolution of a force of multi-capable Airmen and aircrew, improving mission readiness and increasing capabilities in less than optimal environments.
During the exercise, the Contingency Response Team tested its ability to rapidly deploy multi=capable Airmen to provide the command and control and port capabilities needed to get the Mobility and Combat Air Forces support equipment on the ground.
“Agile combat employment is essentially what the CR is as a whole. We have multi-capable Airmen, I’d say that’s our bread and butter,” said Tech. Sgt. Richard Meyer, 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron CRT chief.
“We need people that work radios to hop on a forklift and go help load an aircraft. Just because their job specialty says communications specialist, it doesn’t mean they can’t go do something like that,” Meyer added. “We have already been operating as agile combat employment – this is our job, we are a jack of all trades kind of thing.”
As part of this ACE event, the C-17 Globemaster aircrews from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, completed a wet-wing defuel, which consisted of off-loadng fuel from the C-17 onto a fuel truck, enabling the crews to rapidly deliver fuel to the fighter aircraft in the simulated austere environment. The implementation of this ACE concept allowed aircraft to rearm and refuel to get back into the fight quickly and efficiently.
“The goal of this exercise is to fly in to a location, setup up shop with C2 capabilities and a small port footprint. Shortly after, the fighter squadron will come in and we get them all setup,” said Tech. Sgt. Mehalic Blair, 821st Contingency Response Squadron CRT chief instructor. “It’s a short period of time, a week or less, we are in and we are out, with the smallest footprint as possible.”
This exercise also served as an initial test of the CRT’s operations since the start of COVID-19.
“It is a chance for us to see if we have any weakness and work on our training deficiencies,” Blair said. “It also allows us to perform what we practice. We go through a lot of training, and this gives us the opportunity to exercise our capabilities.”