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Joint exercise demonstrates CRG, C-17 capabilities

  • Published
  • By Airman Basic Evan Carter
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airlift and contingency response combined recently during a joint training mission between the 36th Contingency Response Group and the 15th Airlift Wing, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. 

Together, they conducted the first C-17 airdrop training mission that paired the two units together. After drop zones opened up on Northwest Field and Andersen, a C-17 and its crewmembers commenced dropping Containerized Delivery System cargo followed by eight members of the 36 CRG airborne assessment team. 

The joint exercise demonstrated the Air Force's ability to deploy personnel and equipment within hours of notification and execute a joint assessment of an airfield for air and surface distribution. It also enabled both the C-17 crews and the 36 CRG members to maintain required mission currency. 

"As a new graduate from the airborne school, Fort Benning, Ga., it was my first jump at Andersen. The jump was not only a very important training mission for our squadron, but it also familiarized us with the C-17 and our unit MC1-1C steerable parachutes," said Staff Sgt. Patrick Pendergest, 36 CRG. 

There are a number of situations where an airborne assessment team is needed. 

"During the response planning after the Indonesia earthquake and Wake Island typhoon recovery, using the airborne assessment team was a course of action that was seriously considered," said Chief Master Sgt. Randall McCormick, 36 CRG. "Along with disasters, our team is also prepared to jump into an airfield on the heels of an airfield seizure force that will speed up a seamless handover and get the airfield opened faster." 

Knowing who and what you will be working with during an airdrop mission is essential to maintaining mission currency. 

"It's a huge help when you know the people you will be working along side of during a deployment," said Chief McCormick. "A lot of valuable time can be lost during the initial response when you don't know who you're working with." 

"The training was vital to maintaining airdrop currency," said Capt. Kenneth Strickland, 15th Operations Support Squadron airdrop training mission commander, Hickam AFB, Hawaii. "Also by accomplishing the drop away from the familiarity of our home station, it provided more realism for our crews." 

Captain Strickland also said that without the help of the 36 CRG airdrop assessment team members, the mission could not have been the success that it was.
Building good relations with those you could work with prior to a crisis is essential to success. 

"With the increased risk associated with airborne missions, it's imperative that all members are knowledgeable and proficient not only in their duties but also with one another," said Sergeant Pendergest. "That only happens we're able to build good relationships with the airlift units."

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