JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
NEXUS DAWN is a readiness exercise that is a collaborative effort between multiple Air Force Reserve and Guard wings designed to test units’ ability to generate, employ and sustain air operations in a simulated austere environment.
Over the course of a week, many aircraft hours were logged between more than five bases, hundreds Reserve Citizen Airmen and Air National Guardsmen completed multiple training missions and moved tons of cargo.
The manpower, the missions, the equipment, the cargo, the many locations, who is responsible for planning and ensuring execution all of these moving pieces? The logistics planners from multiple locations.
At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the 446th Logistics Readiness Flight members used their critical thinking and data management skills to ensure the 446th Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen and their equipment arrived in the correct location and on schedule, so they can train as they fight during Exercise NEXUS DAWN April 26-28.
Planning for the readiness exercise started in May 2019. Despite the onset of the pandemic, inspections teams from the 349th AMW at Travis Air Force Base, California, and the 446th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, pressed forward with their plans to create a robust test of units’ combat readiness, adopting COVID-19 precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along the way.
In the months leading up, the logistics planners collected data from exercise planners across three wings and turned it into a feasible plan. This requires communication of time sensitive info. They also finalized cargo, coordinated correct documentation and managed the joint inspection.
“Planning NEXUS DAWN has been challenging and rewarding,” said Tech Sgt. Patrick Manley, a logistics planner assigned to the 446th LRF.
In addition to organizing the many moving pieces, the logistics planners incorporated mitigation at every step. Following force protection guidance, local and CDC policies, they sought to ensure the safety of all participants and the public in accordance with all laws and regulations.
“COVID-19 has allowed us to flex our logistics prowess,” said Manley. “We have adapted by changing how we move people.”
Pre-screening procedures for exercise participants included temperature checks and adjustments to ensure appropriate social distancing requirements were met for pre-flight holding as well as ground and air transportation of participants.
“Working in an operationally-limited environment has given us insight into what we can control and what we can’t,” said Staff Sgt. Tanner Gill, 446th LRF logistics planner. “We are better prepared to succeed the next time we do this as an exercise or in the real world.”
Exercises such as NEXUS DAWN couldn’t exist without the knowledge and labor from behind-the-scenes experts like Manley, Gill, and the team of logistics planners.
“This exercise highlighted that our Reserve Citizen Airmen need experiences like this to get better at their jobs, and to be able to provide airpower anytime, anywhere,” said Lt. Col. Gerard Guevara, Director of Inspections for the 349th Air Mobility Wing Inspections Directorate. “And we owe that to them and the American public, despite limitations of this pandemic.”