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Altus and Laughlin AFB team up to demonstrate airpower capabilities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Two C-17 Globemaster III crews and Airmen from the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron from Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, integrated with Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to support the COPE THAW mission by providing airlift capabilities for approximately 70,000 pounds of equipment to be moved to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona, Feb. 1-3 and Feb. 16-18, 2022.

The COPE THAW mission ensured the continued success of the Undergraduate Pilot Training program and prevented aircraft damage by moving aircraft maintenance equipment and support cargo from Laughlin AFB to Arizona during inclement weather in the Laughlin AFB area.

“Our Air Education and Training Command partners down at Laughlin have a very daunting and unique mission that is vital to the United States’ national security: creating new winged pilots,” said Maj. Damian Franz, 97th Operations Group chief executive officer. “The 97th Operations Group jumped at the opportunity to support such a unique take on mitigating weather issues that hinder student production.”

Five members from the 97th LRS, consisting of two members from the traffic management office and three members from the air operations flight, were on the aircraft to carry out their portion of the mission.

“Our tactical role consisted of certifying and weighing cargo, declaring and certifying hazardous materials, building cargo pallets, completing a joint airlift inspection record, creating an aircraft load plan, and successfully loading and securing each cargo item within the Arizona-bound C-17s,” said Master Sgt. Todd Scarbrough, 97th LRS traffic management superintendent.

This exercise is part of the Adaptive Training Initiative, a new-aged concept of training that forces students to be agility-minded, resourceful, and prepared for near-peer confrontation.

“The 97th OG commander has been spearheading a new way to teach and prepare our students for tomorrow’s war,” said Franz. “Through missions like this, the 97th OG instructors can hone skills needed to train future warriors.”

The COPE THAW mission also provided real-time training with members from the 97th Logistics Readiness Flight and the 97th Maintenance Group.

“This training aided both units in understanding and demonstrating the inner workings of a cargo deployment function,” said Scarbrough. “Their newly acquired knowledge and on-the-job training enhances their agile mission readiness for future training and real-world cargo deployments.”

Franz emphasized the Altus AFB vision with, “A single C-17, armed with inspired, proficient and adaptive Airmen of the Mighty 97th, guarantees the execution of this mission and every future mission.”