Altus AFB supports Fort Bragg during joint training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 58th Airlift Squadron participated in Joint Airborne Air Transportability Training, Apr. 11 at Fort Sill, Okla., involving nearly 100 U.S. Army Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne, 18th Fires Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.

"The overall mission was for training, both for the 58th AS and for the 82nd Airborne," said Capt. Andy Allen, 58th AS instructor pilot and aircraft commander during the training. "We did a drop of personnel and heavy equipment on the Snow Ridge drop zone at Fort Sill, which is a new DZ. There has been a lot of airdrop resupply going on in [real world missions], so airdrop training is always realistic for us. Taking off from a distant location and then going into an objective area and dropping equipment followed by personnel is a very realistic scenario."

During the training, two C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Altus AFB airdropped an M777 Howitzer and Soldiers from Fort Bragg. After the airdrop, members of the 18th FB unloaded a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from one of the C-17s that landed at Fort Sill. After traveling to the firing location, the soldiers fired six rockets downrange. Soldiers also assembled the airdropped Howitzer and fired 16 rounds downrange during the training.

"We are going to be doing air-land operations and flying in hot, unloading the vehicle from the aircraft, going to a firing point and sending rockets down range," said Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Jolly, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade multiple launch rocket system crew member, Fort Bragg, N.C. "This is good practice because these HIMARS vehicles are aircraft capable and we can go pretty much anywhere in the world you want us to go as long as there is an aircraft to take us there."

For Capt. Allen from the 58th AS, the M777 Howitzer is the heaviest piece of equipment he has ever airdropped and it was a highlight of the training for him.

"Feeling the howitzer go out, that's probably the heaviest pallet I have ever dropped, so that is always a high point," Allen said. "Every time you hear the Soldiers in the back stand up and start yelling because they are about jump out, and they are excited and motivated, it's always a good feeling to know that you are part of that."

Joint trainings like this are important for both the Army and the Air Force because it keeps operational skills sharp.

"We never know what is going to happen, so the more we do these operations, the more finely tuned we will be," Jolly said.

At the end of the day this was only a training scenario, but it's training like this that helps save lives during real world operations in the war zone.