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AFFORGEN-ready: JB MDL completes KC-46A Pegasus certification

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Simonne Barker
  • 87th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Roughly 120 service members and five KC-46A Pegasus tankers assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., participated in JB MDL's first-ever certification event for the KC-46A Pegasus during Neptune Series exercise at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Oct. 21-Nov. 2.

Throughout the two-week exercise, 305th Air Mobility Wing Airmen certified the KC-46 Mission Generation Force Element in preparation for the upcoming Air Force Force Generation deployment cycle. Evaluations on the ability to successfully accomplish Air Mobility Command competencies, maximize joint air interoperability, and strengthen our global warfighting capabilities, were priorities during the exercise.

“Our team did not disappoint. (The Neptune Series) accomplished the first AFFORGEN model proof of concept in the KC-46 enterprise and set the framework for future certification events on this airframe,” stated U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Britton Beasley, KC-46 Aircraft Maintenance officer in charge during the exercise. “We showed that we’re capable of executing an entirely organic large force movement to a deployed location. We proved that we can generate, recover and perform up to intermediate-level maintenance on deployed aircraft for the 2nd ARS to execute their certification in the air.”

The joint air interoperability exercise was composed of multiple JB MDL squadrons, including the 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 305th Maintenance Squadron, 305th Operations Support Squadron, 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, and 87th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Jointly, these squadrons sharpened their skills to generate, fly and deliver airpower superiority. Airmen implemented Agile Combat Employment concepts in simulated deployed scenarios, testing their proactive and reactive responses with limited personnel and equipment.

“The most challenging part of this exercise is being away from home station without home station support,” said Staff. Sgt. Daniel Myers, 605th AMXS KC-46A crew chief. “This Neptune Series, for maintenance, has proved that we can all be Muti-capable Airmen in the generation of this aircraft.”

Flexibility, adaptability and endurance were vital to mission success. JB MDL Airmen increased proficiency by applying cross-functional training to scale down the number of participants while also preserving high-end readiness essential for training to win today and tomorrow.

“Our Airmen and our aircraft are ready,” said Lt Col. Joshua Crockett, 2nd ARS commander and MGFE commander. “This experience tested and validated our ability to rapidly project global airpower from home station anywhere at any time. Throughout this certification event I’ve witnessed the team’s ability to deliver with high levels of precision, consistently and over an extended duration. Without a doubt our MGFE will fuel the Joint Force mission and maneuver at the tempo required to win.”

Multiple aspects of real-life deployment scenarios were incorporated to simulate a realistic atmosphere for the exercise, aiding in crew preparation for future missions. This training opportunity strengthened warfighter capabilities and successfully integrated AMC priorities.

"My primary role as intel was to integrate with the mission planning cell and provide knowledge of potential threats to our tankers, ensuring the safety and success of the mission,” said Airman 1st Class Antonio Ramirez, 305th OSS KC-46 Intelligence Support. “We contributed to this certification by providing a threat picture, which allowed our tankers to conduct strategic maneuvers to avoid said threats while conducting air refueling."

The Neptune Series of events invested in readiness and strengthening global warfighting capabilities. This joint air interoperability exercise ushers JB MDL into a new era of Rapid Air Mobility.