JOINT BASE CHARLESTON – Approximately 600 Airmen from the 628th Air Base Wing, 437th Airlift Wing and 315th Airlift Wing teamed up for a total force rapid mobility exercise Nov. 13-17, 2018.
The exercise focused on total force readiness, mobilization, base defense and quick-response airlift capabilities, according to Col. Rockie Wilson, 628th Mission Support Group commander and leader of one of the exercise’s simulated air expeditionary groups.
“Based upon today’s global climate, we have to be able to prepare, mobilize and deploy our forces on a large scale to respond anywhere in the world,” said Wilson. “Instead of deploying individually to support counterinsurgency operations as we have done for the past 15 to 20 years, this is a large scale, full-spectrum readiness response exercise.”
To keep the training as realistic as possible, participants from across Joint Base Charleston received the equipment, weapons and specialty uniform items they would use in real-world situations. The simulated scenarios enabled senior base leaders and subject matter experts to ensure the readiness of JB Charleston’s quick-response capabilities and analyze ways to maximize their effectiveness.
“Practicing these types of plans is extremely important to make sure we are constantly trained and ready to go,” said Tech. Sgt. John Christopher, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron structural NCO in charge. “It has also given us an opportunity to logistically see how long it would take us to mobilize and gives us a chance see how our plans and processes can become more efficient.
“As NCOs, the more knowledge we can pass down to our younger Airmen, the better prepared we will be as a fighting force for the future,” he added.
Conducting exercises with the incorporation of the reserve element helps ensure continuity between components. The result is an effective total force that is able deliver mobility in a timely manner with minimal setbacks.
“Being able to test and demonstrate our abilities as a total force is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Col. Steve Lanier, 315th Operations Group commander and exercise air expeditionary group commander. “This allowed us to sharpen our abilities and strengthen our confidence in order to complete any mission.”
After the long week of planning and execution, the base and its leaders learned a lot about their force. Many units pulled 12-hour shifts in order to complete their missions.
“I’m proud of what we have accomplished during the training,” said Wilson. “The fact that all three wings came together and performed at the level that they have is a win in and of itself. The Airmen in all three wings did a great job executing the duties that they were tasked with and I look forward to more opportunities like this in the future.”