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Cascadia contingencies incorporate joint training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


It’s a subduction zone along the western coast of the United States set to cause an earthquake every few hundred years capable of devastating much of the western seaboard in a matter of minutes.

To minimize the fallout of such a catastrophic event, Kingsley Field, Oregon, was designated as a potential collection point for relief efforts in the event of a natural disaster.  Kingsley Field called upon Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, to assist in demonstrating the demands and capabilities of airlift in a sustained humanitarian aid situation during Cascadia Airlift Exercise 2018.

“It’s a two-in-one exercise,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Wright, 173rd Fighter Wing chief of wing plans. “The main objective is to be able to host airlift-centered planes during a humanitarian response to the Cascadia earthquake and identify limiting factors in being able to properly manage them. We also had the added benefit of being able to have the C-130s and F-15Cs fly together. ”

Having prior experience flying C-130 Hercules aircraft, Wright felt Little Rock’s robust combat airlift capability would be a perfect fit for generating the data necessary to lay the groundwork for hosting a large-scale humanitarian mission.

“We performed a stress test of Kingsley Field’s real-world capabilities to bring in aid immediately following a tsunami or earthquake disaster,” said Capt. Derek Potter, 61st Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot. “I think it was a great learning experience for us and believe the unit here got what they needed to perform their mission successfully.”

Along with testing Kingsley Fields airlift capabilities, LRAFB conducted joint training operations with the F-15 Eagle formal training unit, which included air-to-air engagements and escort tactics. Both units found it helpful to sit down and discuss what was and wasn’t effective in the air.

“One of the mission sets we train to is offensive counter air,” said Capt. Chris DuBois, 114th Fighter Squadron F-15C instructor pilot, “which means getting an asset into a contested area. Working with the C-130s, we were able to practice for this mission a lot more effectively and see what it’s like to integrate with them for the mission.”

The coordination between both teams became an example of working to optimize mission time and manpower.

“I feel like this was a great first start, and there needs to be more exercises like this because you can never have enough practice for Cascadia,” Wright said. “It’s going to be a joint effort, and we need to tie ourselves together more. It’s invaluable training, and I hope we can set up a curriculum for the school house at LRAFB and for the school house here in the future.”