446 AW, Army participate in joint training exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Sommers
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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.”