by Staff Sgt. Terri Paden
15th Wing Public Affairs
10/31/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Airmen
from the 15th Wing and Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division loaded
Stryker combat vehicles onto Air Force C-17s for the first time during
an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise in Hawaii Oct. 17.
In this first practical demonstration, the C-17 crews successfully
uploaded two of the Army's Stryker combat vehicles and flew them to
Pohakuloa Training Area on Kona for the exercise. Exercise players
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 Stryker Brigade Combat
Team 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
"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.]"