621st CRW, joint partners team up for exercise

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. David W. Carbajal
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

The 621st Contingency Response Wing, 689th Rapid Port Opening Element and the Defense Logistics Agency’s Rapid Deployment Team-Blue teamed up for exercise Turbo Distribution 19-03, July 18-24, at Contingency Operating Base Panther in North Vernon, Indiana.

In this joint training exercise, approximately 125 Airmen from the CRW teamed up with about 50 RPOE Soldiers and five DLA members to conduct Joint Task Force-Port Opening in order to bring humanitarian aid and disaster relief to the people of the fictional country of South Torbia.

“Conducting HADR operations is one of the most important missions we do,” said Col. Greg Cyrus, the 621st Contingency Response Group commander and the JTF-PO commander for TD 19-03. “Preventing further suffering and loss of life is an enduring value of the United States and the contingency response groups are standing ready to assist when requested.”

U.S. Transportation Command regularly exercises JTF-PO capabilities to ensure a trained, ready joint team can rapidly assess, deploy, open, operate and manage aerial and sea ports. JTF-PO supports synchronized cargo and passenger movement. The objective is to clear the port early in the humanitarian crisis and receive and stage cargo for onward movement.

Turbo Distribution exercises are specifically designed to train and assess JTF-PO capabilities. The exercises also is intended to build familiarity and improve interoperability among the participating Joint Force units for the purpose of opening airfields and forwarding the mobility-centric goals of the Army and Air Force.

The Airmen, consisting mainly of the 921st Contingency Response Squadron, practiced mission stand up, command and control, conducting airfield operations and cargo processing as they strived to sharpen their skills on providing humanitarian relief.

Soldiers and Airmen worked at least 12-hour shifts, performing these tasks throughout the exercise on a 24-hour rotation.

The JTF-PO team delivered more than 285,000 pounds of humanitarian relief to include food, water, blankets, cots, health and medical supplies, generators and fuel over the course of seven days.

“We rely on each other to make sure this mission gets done,” said Army Capt. JaLyssa Walker, 689th RPOE commander. “The Air Force flies the supplies in and preps it, and we track it and transport it to the forward node, where the customer can retrieve it.”

In this case, the “customer” can be military drivers picking up supplies for other military installations in the region or it can be designated drivers picking up the supplies for the refugee camps throughout the south portion of South Torbia.

The concept may seem straightforward, but a variety of scenarios were presented to the team to ensure they were prepared for the unexpected. Some of the scenarios included simulated chemical and ground-force attacks, loss of communications systems, protesters at the COB main gate and improvised explosive devices along the primary route to the forward node.