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19th AW integrates with Joint Forces during Northern Edge 21

Soldiers board a C-130J

Army paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, board an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules prior to departing for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing out of Little Rock Air Base, Ark. operated two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the JFEO. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers board a C-130J

Army paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, board an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules prior to departing for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing out of Little Rock Air Base, Ark. operated two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the JFEO. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers prepare for jump operations

Army paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, make final gear adjustments prior to boarding Air Force aircraft for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers prepare for jump operations

Army paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, make final gear adjustments prior to boarding Air Force aircraft for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers prepare for jump operations

Army paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, make final gear adjustments prior to departing for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers prepare for jump operations

Army Spc. Jerry Breeden, a combat engineer from the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, pauses for a photo on the flightline prior to departing for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. Breeden is from Grants Pass, Ore. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers prepare for jump operations

Army paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, make their way to the flightline prior to departing for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Soldiers prepare for jump operations

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kyle Davis, left, an air mobility liaison officer from 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash., undergoes a jumpmaster personnel inspection by Army 1st Lt. Shane Small, right, prior to departing for a joint forced-entry operation during Northern Edge 21 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 11, 2021. Approximately 15,000 U.S. service members participate in a joint training exercise hosted by U.S. Pacific Air Forces May 3-14, 2021, on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces' skills, practice tactics, techniques, and procedures, improve command, control, and communication relationships develop cooperative plans and programs. Davis is from Elizabethtown, Ky. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Airmen assigned to the 19th Airlift Wing recently returned home after strengthening joint ties during Northern Edge 2021, a large-scale field training exercise held at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 3-14.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-led exercise, which involved the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy, recreated high-end realistic warfighter training to practice tactics, techniques and procedures while improving command, control and communication relationships, joint interoperability and combat readiness in a Large Force Employment (LFE) training scenario with a focus on multi-domain operations.

Operating out of various locations in and around Alaska, two C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron supported the buildup, sustainment, and redeployment of three forward operating sites.

In total, LRAFB aircrews flew 54 sorties, transporting 292 passengers and 138,000 pounds of cargo, directly supporting 15,000 joint service members and over 240 aircraft.

“It is a rare opportunity to have this many joint partners in one place,” said Capt. Robert Black, 61st AS pilot. “The challenging scenario and environment that we operated in builds confidence in our crews.”

The 61st AS also conducted a joint forcible entry (JFE) of over 300 paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

The C-130Js were part of a multi-ship formation, entering into a highly contested environment during an LFE while receiving direct support from A-10 Thunderbolt IIs as well as 4th and 5th generation fighters.

Black said the successful formation airdrop validated strategic infiltration capabilities, enabling the rapid insertion of a HIMARS unit and demonstrating the Joint Force’s capability to swiftly project combat power.

“Confidence is instilled in our joint partners that we are capable of executing the mission we are tasked with in a high end fight,” Black said. “Each of our sister services speaks a different language and being able to integrate in the same location and learn about each other’s capabilities and limitations was very valuable.”

Understanding the role of adjacent units and enhancing the ability to work together were key components of NE21.

“Integration and interoperability are key to being able to project combat power in a high-end fight,” Black said. “Operating outside of our normal military bases is challenging but Airmen and joint partners are able to rise up to challenge and adapt and execute the mission.”