Airmen partner toward quicker deployments

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Snider
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Rescue Airmen from the 23rd Wing visited the Devil Raiders of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, May 21-23, 2018, to better understand the essential assets to stand up rescue operations from bare-base situations.

Although the 23rd Wing’s mission to organize, train, equip and maintain combat-ready for Air Combat Command, and the 621st CRW focuses on rapidly organizing and standing up bare bases for Air Mobility Command aircraft, they both believed they could learn from each other.

“Historically, when rescue has been tagged to go somewhere that isn’t an already established (area), we’ve tended to just make do and get by,” said Maj. Tom Beier, 347th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations. “So the CRG already has an established model that they go with to set up bare bases.”

The three-day exercise marked the first time a personnel recovery organization has reached out to the CRW to collaborate and innovate better ways of conducting their respective missions.

“Learning from that and seeing how they go in, set up, operate and what they’re thinking about kind of plays into what we should be thinking about,” added Beier.

While the 621st CRW’s specialty is procuring air bases for AMC aircraft, sharing knowledge between mission-sets could potentially benefit both entities.

“We’re in the business of recovering personnel,” said Lt. Col. Michael Gallagher, 347th Operations Support Squadron commander. “We’re not in the business of putting up tents, bringing in fuel or feeding ourselves. We have some of that capability, but it doesn’t last forever. So if we tap into these larger resources that the Department of Defense and the Air Force provide such as contingency response, it gives us the ability to get to a place faster, get bases set up faster and our mission going faster.”

Working together, units can enhance the strategy of ‘adaptive basing,’ which is deploying minimal numbers of Airmen and aircraft to respond to short-notice humanitarian or combat operations for short durations from abandoned or civilian airfields.

“We need to be able to operate out of a location, rapidly accomplish the mission, and then tear down and move it in a timely fashion,” said Maj. Allen Jennings, 621st CRW contingency response planner. “The Air Force opens air bases and landing zones all around the world, but when you need that landing zone or airfield operating, moving cargo and moving airplanes in 72 hours or less, that is us. You’re not getting that capability anywhere else.”

While this exercise may have only been a kicking off point, both entities expressed their confidence in how talks like these will only enhance their ability to conduct their mission.

“Anytime you get a chance to work on a new initiative or establish a new relationship, it’s a rewarding thing to do,” said Beier. “I think it makes us more agile and capable of supporting a combatant commander’s ability to operate quickly. If you need a rescue capability now for time-sensitive operations, that’s where you’re going to enhance capability with this.”

Jennings echoed Beier’s enthusiasm toward the future.

“It’s always great to think beyond the standard and do thought exercises that allow us to learn and gain new information from people who do things a little differently,” said Jennings. “In the end, that’s going to influence the way I do my core mission and only make it better.

“Its behooved on us in a newer, faster, more agile Air Force to take a few risks like this, try something new with the support of our commanders, give it a shot and learn from it.”