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615th CRW plays role in JFEX

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the 615th Contingency Response Wing participated in a Joint Forcible Entry Exercise at Pope AFB, N.C., Jan. 21 to Saturday. 

JFEX is a joint seizure exercise designed to enhance service cohesiveness between the U.S. Army and Air Force by giving both services an opportunity to properly execute large scale heavy equipment and troop movements. 

The 52-member Contingency Response Group Element exercised their command and control, maintenance and aerial port skills during the joint exercise with the 82nd Airborne Division. 

“In this exercise our customer is the Army,” said Lt. Col. Al Lopez, CRG-E commander. “However, depending on the operation we are able to serve multiple customers and even civilian aircraft in support of our sister services’ needs.” 

Aerial porters, maintainers, loadmasters, boom operators and command post Airmen exercised and refined their individual skills. 

“The exercise gives us a broader perspective,” said Staff Sgt. Aaron Mynatt, Operations NCOIC for the exercise. “We are developing and cutting missions based on the requirements needed by the customers, which is normally an [Air Mobility Division] function.” 

The quarterly exercise, designed to train deploying 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers, is also an opportunity for the 615th CRW to build relationships, develop their skills and practice their command and control function for real-world deployments. 

“It adds an expeditionary flavor to teaching deploying brigades how they can expect to interact with us and how it should all work together,” said Colonel Lopez. “It also gives us an opportunity not only to build relationships with our sister service counterparts but gives us an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the intricacies of a large scale airdrop operation involving both C-17s and C-130s, something we don’t get a lot of exposure to.” 

In addition to the main body, which arrived Jan. 21, a small advanced team arrived Jan. 18 to assess the airfield, coordinate digging permits and begin off-loading the Mobile Air Reporting and Communications shelter. After the main body of people arrived, the team set-up the MARC and began 24-hour operations. 

“It has been a fast tempo,” said Sergeant Mynatt. “We had 11 aircraft take off at once and they all returned at the same time too.” 

In addition, the CRW also has a small mission support group forward deployed to help receive the aircraft within the Restricted Area 5311 where the landing and drop zones are, said Colonel Lopez. 

“We are handling the missions out of Pope AFB,” said Colonel Lopez. “The [forward deployed people] are on the receiving end, assisting with air-land support.”
The 621st CRW from McGuire AFB, N.J., and the 615th CRW take turns participating in the exercise, which runs quarterly.

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