News

446 AW, Army participate in joint training exercise

Airlift with emergency lights on

U.S. Air Force loadmasters from the 446th Airlift Wing preform pre-flight checks in the cargo area of a C-17 Globemaster III July 14, 2020, before starting a Joint Airborne/Air Transportability Training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Air Force Reserve aircrew partnered with U.S. Army Soldiers from the Operations Group at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California, for this JA/ATT exercise to maintain combat readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Sommers)

Army Soldiers siting on cargo aircraft

U.S. Army soldiers with the Operations Group, Alpha Company, prepare to jump from a C-17 Globemaster III during a Joint Airborne/Air Transportability Training July 14, 2020, at Bicycle Lake Air Field, Fort Irwin, California. The Operations Group at the National Training Center trains Soldiers in procedures of airdrop operations, while also offering a unique environment for joint training missions with other military branches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Sommers)

Aircrew talking to soldiers

U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Lawler, a pilot assigned to the 728th Airlift Squadron and lead Joint Airborne/Air Transportability Training planner, briefs U.S. Army Soldiers with the Operations Group, Alpha Company, on a C-17 Globemaster III July 14, 2020, at Bicycle Lake Air Field, Fort Irwin, California. The JA/ATT program is designed to provide Army airborne training in a joint environment while offering military branches an opportunity to jointly develop tactics, knowledge and procedures and increase proficiency in airdrop, assault landing and mobility operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Sommers)

C-17 sitting on dirt runway

A C-17 Globemaster III flown by the 446th Airlift Wing lands during a Joint Airborne/Air Transportability Training July 14, 2020, at Bicycle Lake Air Field, Fort Irwin, California. The design of the C-17 allows it to operate through small, undeveloped airfields delivering combat forces near battle area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Sommers)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 446th Airlift Wing here participated in a joint training mission with U.S. Army Soldiers July 14 at Bicycle Lake Airfield on Fort Irwin, California.

The Joint Airborne/Air Transportability Training provides airborne training in a joint environment while developing tactics, knowledge and procedures to increase proficiency in airdrop, assault landing and mobility operations.

The mission consisted of aircrew from the 97th, 313th and 728th Airlift Squadrons here and Army Operations Group, Alpha Company, assigned to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin.

This exercise included semi-prepared runway operations, a SPRO, with two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and static line airborne operations, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Lawler, aircraft commander and JA/ATT lead planner assigned to the 728th Airlift Squadron.

“SPRO means operating from a runway that is constructed of non-permanent materials, such as gravel, coral, or in this case, dirt,” said Lawler. “Conducting SPRO in the C-17 requires a high-level of detailed planning, coordination, and different take-off and landing procedures.”

In addition to providing training for pilots, SPRO is beneficial for loadmasters to become familiar with procedures experienced in different environments.

Landing on a dirt runway during an exercise helps loadmasters to experience the environment and how it affects them, said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Bertsch, loadmaster and NCO in charge of 446th Operations Support Squadron Tactics from the 728th AS.

“Our newest qualified airdrop loadmaster got to see how a personnel JA/ATT works,” said Bertsch. “She also got to run checklists in a real world environment and see the problems that can arise at any time.”

Joint training opportunities like this maintain readiness and sustains an effective combat force during real-world situations.

Unpredictable weather conditions halted the personnel airdrop inflight, but overall the mission was otherwise successful, Lawler said.

“Despite the challenging wind conditions on the ground,” he said. “The aircrew on each jet performed quite well and received quality training.”