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621st CRW to exercise ABO skills during Mobility Guardian

MOSES LAKE, Wash. -- The 621st Contingency Response Wing deployed an air base opening team of 99 Contingency Response Airmen here in support of Air Mobility Command’s premier readiness exercise Mobility Guardian. 

“Mobility Guardian is the first of its kind,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Clark Hall, 921st Contingency Response Squadron assistant director of operations and acting contingency response element commander at Moses Lake. “This exercise tests our ability to rapidly deploy, open and operate a logistical hub in a combat zone. It also allows the contingency response forces to work with our coalition partners, building relationships for future combat missions.”

The contingency response groups in the CRW are self-sufficient and deploys with all personnel, equipment and supplies to execute the mission. The airbase opening team here includes personnel from 24 different Air Force Specialty Codes who provide airfield operations and bare base camp support. They bridge the gap between seizure and sustainment forces, establishing and codifying airfield procedures and processes for continuous mobility operations, Hall said. 

Throughout the exercise 821st CRG Airmen will integrate with the Australians, Belgians and British forces, loading and offloading cargo, as well as providing base defense and intelligence to support combat training in a realistic environment. 

“In an increasingly smaller world, the U.S. continues to work with our coalition partners to not only support each other, but ensure that our processes are similar and that we are able to work together consistently and effectively across the nation,” Hall said. “This exercise is no different, we will use this opportunity to help strengthen partnerships, discovering, learning and improving together as an integrated team.”

The 621st CRW recently showcased its air base opening capability with its partner nations, supporting operations in Iraq and Syria.

“Every CR mission or exercise provides lessons learned,” Hall said. “The past two missions highlighted our need to train with coalition forces under combat conditions. We have also upgraded some of our equipment in order to be successful in an austere environment – lighter, leaner, and more effective.”

During most exercises, the CRG is required to simulate aircraft operations. Sometimes relying on pallets placed on semi-trucks to simulate mobility aircraft.

The airlift in this exercise is unprecedented, Hall said. The CRG rarely test their maximum mission capability; at Mobility Guardian the team can finally put the Airmen to the test.

Before the CRG arrival here, the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and 62nd Medical Brigade exercised a forcible entry training scenario where they seized the airfield and held it until the arrival of the ABO team. 

“Seldomly do we get the opportunity to train with the Army on the transition between seizure forces and air base opening, which is unfortunate because it is the most challenging,” Hall said. “The opportunity to train to this phase of operations is a huge benefit. It tests our ability to communicate effectively with joint forces, ensuring command relations are understood and the joint mission is accomplished.”

Mobility Guardian is the most realistic mobility training in a dynamic environment focusing on all four AMC core competencies; airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and air mobility support.

“I’m excited for our Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Justin Niederer, 821st CRG commander and the senior airfield authority here. “Our Airmen get the opportunity to showcase their capability in a similar terrain and environment as the one they operated in during their recent missions to Iraq and Syria.” 

The CRG is equipped to execute the mission for up to 45 days, and once redeployed home are reconstituted within 72 hours and ready to once again answer the nations call.