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621 MSOS's AMLOs, EAGLEs train as teams with 437 AW, 628 ABW

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Scott Warner
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

Eighteen 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron (MSOS) team members assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, partnered with Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing (AW) and 628th Air Base Wing (ABW), both stationed on Joint Base Charleston, SC, to plan and execute dynamic airlift mission taskings in an expeditionary scenario during Exercise Swamp Avenger, held May 22-26, 2023.

This year’s Exercise Swamp Avenger was based out of Joint Base Charleston and North Field, South Carolina, an auxiliary training field of Joint Base Charleston, and was the 621st MSOS’s culminating exercise to prepare Air Mobility Liaison Officers (AMLOs) and Expeditionary Air Ground Liaison Element (EAGLE) team members for Air Mobility Command’s premiere exercise: Mobility Guardian.

“Swamp Avenger was designed as our practice run for Operation Mobility Guardian and we are now ready for the big game,” said Lt. Col. Michael Ball, 621st MSOS AMLO and Exercise Swamp Avenger co-lead planner.

Exercise Swamp Avenger simulated 621st MSOS’ response with using newly-formed AMLO-EAGLE Response Cell (AERC) teams to combat futuristic threat scenarios mirroring real-world events. Based upon lessons learned from recent contingency operations, the AERC, which is an innovative Combatant Commander force presentation teaming construct, enables small-footprint joint user integration through embedded command-and-control liaison nodes, joint synchronization of airlift requirements, airfield and drop zone operations, as well as cargo preparation and loading.

“Utilizing Agile Combat Employment (ACE) and Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) concepts as the driving focus for the exercise, we, the planners, focused on integrating newly developed innovative technologies as well as updated tactics, techniques, and procedures to train teams to enable the Combatant Commander to maneuver the joint force most effectively,” said Maj. Michael Deck, 621st MSOS AMLO and Exercise Swamp Avenger co-lead planner. "I am incredibly proud and thankful to Joint Base Charleston and our squadron’s hard-working exercise planners.”

After rigorous academics and mission planning, beginning on May 24, the 621st MSOS rapidly deployed two AERC teams and one command element to the forward support base. Both teams consisted of one AMLO, three EAGLE team members and one joint-inspection qualified personnel.

While on the ground, the CR forces provided airlift support to rapidly deploy airfield engineering operations, assessed North Field’s operating capabilities, established and operated independent landing and drop zones for 24-hour operations, provided pre-joint inspection assistance for transportation equipment and other air mobility assets, created a safe and secure bed down area for the team and utilized multiple forms of innovative communication technologies.

Overall, Airmen from over eight organizations and three wings, including JB-CHS ACE Cell, 437th OSS, 437th APS, 628th LRS, 628th CES, 14th AS, 16th AS and 621st MSOS, teamed together to enable the airlift of two pallets, six passengers, five vehicles and the landing and drop zone operations of nine C-17 aircraft. AERCs were able to fully prepare equipment for joint inspection rapidly, proving a critical capability to enable the joint warfighter’s scheme of maneuver. Showcasing their small-footprint and capabilities, AERC teams self-supported their own deployment, sustained day and night operations using advanced communications, and conducted airfield assessments.

“Our bi-annual Avenger-series exercises allow us to implement and stress our teams, tactics, and equipment in a realistic threat environment,” said Deck. “Teaming together to accomplish a complex mission provides our squadron critical experience, feedback and lessons learned to keep pace in the joint operational environment. We must hold ourselves to the highest of standards and continue to challenge ourselves as the joint user depends on our capabilities and expertise.”

Deck added that the AMLO and EAGLE teams are the nation’s joint air mobility enablers.

In this training scenario, North Field served as a contingency location, which would provide a strategic staging location for 621st CRW to utilize in the simulated theater of operations. It allowed the team to partner with simulated host nation forces, deploy and redeploy engineering assets and humanitarian aid, while also serving as a show of force to deter further acts of aggression and stabilize the region.

“Our squadron continues to develop, adopt, and implement new innovative technologies, from advanced communications systems to lightweight panels and runway lighting, to unmanned-aerial vehicles,” said Lt Col Eric Wietlisbach, 621st MSOS commander. “We are constantly striving for the competitive edge to better execute the joint mission. Our AMLOs and EAGLEs, teamed together using the AERC concept, remain ready to enable the joint force. Exercise Swamp Avenger was the perfect showcase of our squadron’s readiness for AMC’s Exercise Mobility Guardian.”

Mobility Guardian 2023, AMC's premiere bi-annual mobility exercise, is fully integrated into a variety of exercises in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's theater, such as Swamp Avenger, supporting eight joint exercises and building interoperability with seven nations.

This year’s Exercise Mobility Guardian will be the largest iteration in its history. It’ll include 67 mobility aircraft and 3,000 Airmen. The Mobility Air Forces (MAF) will be tested in every mission set to include airlift, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation, global air mobility support and command and control.

Ultimately, Mobility Guardian will test MAF on how ready the U.S. Air Force is for future conflicts with potential near-peer adversaries.

“We must maintain custody of our readiness and get better every day,” said AMC commander Gen. Mike Minihan. “We must get Exercise Mobility Guardian right. Everyone’s success depends on us.”