by Staff Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs
10/29/2013 - Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii -- Airmen
from the 15th Wing and Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division loaded
Stryker combat vehicles onto C-17s for the first time during an
Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise in Hawaii Oct. 17.
In this first practical demonstration, the C-17s successfully uploaded
two of the Army's Stryker combat vehicles and flew to Pohakuloa Training
Area on Kona for the exercise, which included the Army's 2nd Stryker
Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and the Air Force's 535th
Airlift Squadron and 15th Wing.
The Stryker, the Army's Interim Armored Vehicle, is used to provide
quick response maneuvering capability, enhanced survivability and
lethality and expand fight versatility.
Until now, the Army has always moved their Hawaii based Stryker vehicles via ships.
"We all knew the C-17 can carry Strykers, but this is a very big deal
for us," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Pettengill, 380th Ground Liaison
Detachment. "It is the first time we have loaded the Strykers onto the
C-17 and conducted a fly-away mission with them."
The C-17 Globemaster III is known for being able to rapidly deploy
troops and cargo all over the world; however, this recent validation
exercise confirmed the 535th's ability to extend the range of Hawaii
based armored units.
Army Warrant Officer Danny Thurman of the 2nd SBCT/ 25th ID said though
the initial purpose of the exercise was to simply validate the ability
to transport the Strykers, the short timeline enabled the 25 ID to test
the Army's ability to deploy a quick reaction force.
"The timeline for this exercise was extremely short. In less than 24
hours we were able to plan, coordinate and execute the mission," said
Pettengill. "This would not have been possible without the close
relationship between the 15th Wing and the 25th ID. This training
validated 2 SBCT's proficiency as a quick reaction force, further
enhancing USARPAC's rapid deployment capability as USPACOM's response
force in the Pacific AOR [area of responsibility.]"