Altus Airmen assist Soldiers in mobile rocket joint exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nathan Clark
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
There's a lot of moving parts when Soldiers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, are airlifted from Altus Air Force Base to fire their High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems in Colorado.

Airmen from the 58th Airlift Squadron and the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron teamed up March 6, to transport Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 14 Field Artillery Regiment, 214th Fires Brigade for a field artillery exercise.

Army Lt. Col. J.P. Maddaloni, the 14th FAR, 214th FB, battalion commander said the exercise, “based on a tactical scenario,” was an opportunity in which his team demonstrated their capabilities. Shortly after his team exited a C-17 Globemaster III, they were able to go into live fire.

"It's very important to work out the kinks now for our deployment readiness." Maddaloni said. "It could be anywhere in the U.S. Central Command theater where we would have to be forward deployed and very rapidly get to an airfield and then execute our fires."

For that to happen, communication between the working members is key.

"I'm the go between for the Army and the group that's doing the airlift," said Air Force Staff Sgt. William Martineau, the 97th LRS aerial operations supervisor. "There are certain steps and procedures that have to happen; making sure everything is air worthy, that no one's going to get injured, and the safety of flights."

Along with his normal duties Martineau and his air operations Airmen were able to help show the Soldiers the process of securing their vehicles in the aircraft, because in a real-world situation the Soldiers may be the ones securing their vehicles.

On the airlift end of the operation, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Donnie McCorckle, a 58th AS instructor loadmaster, took a major part in coordinating the flight.

"Coordination for this process has been very thorough," McCorckle said. "We have had multiple meetings in person, many phone calls and emails with our Fort Sill representatives, LRS, intel, tactics, the 58th AS and wing current ops. Really the LRS support, the aircrew and the Fort Sill operators are doing the hard work and are the ones that make this training happen."

All the hard work each person involved helped not only the Army, but served as a chance for members of the 58th AS to refresh and demonstrate their proficiency.

C-17 instructor pilots were able to complete multiple flying objectives including mountainous, low-level flight, ridge crossings, as well as the opportunity to gain familiarity in joint operations, said Air Force Capt. Grant Behning, the 58th AS flight commander of training.

"This helps sharpen our instructor loadmaster’s skills," McCorkle said. "Day-to-day operations consists of training our student loadmasters, but it doesn't really give us an opportunity to get our hands dirty and perform. By doing this, it gives our students better instruction by improving our already excellent instructors."

Keeping the aircrews sharp ensures smooth joint operations and happy services on each side.

"I'm so proud of my Soldiers and of the cooperation we've had here at Altus Air Force Base," Maddaloni said. "They're truly great partners and we couldn't do it without them."