by Master Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
7/15/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Airmen at
613th Air Operations Center Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam,
Hawaii, were the nerve center for the movement of seven C-17
Globemasters carrying almost 450 U.S. Army paratroopers on a non-stop
flight from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to Royal Australian
Air Force Base Amberley, Australia, July 8.
The 613th AOC provided this 22-hour command and control capability,
which included two Royal Australian Air Force C-17s from the 36th
Airlift Squadron, four C-17s from Air Mobility Command and one C-17 from
Pacific Air Forces completing the training across two hemispheres in
one day, as part of Talisman Sabre 15.
"There were many moving parts involved with launching these aircraft and
getting them to Australia in a secure manner and more than a thousand
people were involved in successfully completing this operation," said
Maj. Kaialii Kahele, 613th AOC Air Mobility Division airlift control
team chief. "This was the kick off to Talisman Sabre, the largest
Pacific Command exercise, and it was successfully completed as a joint,
coalition effort that demonstrated our global reach and global power."
To allow for a non-stop flight, four KC-10 Extenders from Travis Air
Force Base, California, and three KC-10s from Joint Base
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, created an air bridge in the skies
above the Pacific, delivering 804,000 pounds of fuel.
"The refueling piece happened in 35 minutes with no issues," said
Kahele. "This coordination displayed our unity of effort and it
demonstrates how we can reach anywhere around PACAF -- 52 percent of the
world's surface, at any time."
Before the aircraft touched down at RAAF Amberley, Soldiers with the 4th
Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from Fort Richardson,
Alaska, parachuted onto Kapyong Air Field, Queensland, Australia.
"The air drop commenced precisely in the five minute window," said
Kahele. "This demonstrated the strategic air power of the U.S. and
Australian Air Forces with our coalition partners. At the time of the
jump I looked at my watch and knew that somewhere over Australia the 4th
Brigade is jumping out of U.S. and Australian C-17s; I had a part in
that, and it almost felt like I was there."
Airmen and their Australian counterparts also worked the command and
control piece together in the AOC where they stayed in constant contact
with the C-17 and pilots, ready for any unplanned contingencies like
changes in weather or aircraft issues.
"I have been associated with numerous Talisman Sabre exercises and the
USAF integration with the RAAF is not only vastly improved over the
years, but it is relatively seamless at this point and a critical
enabler for contingency operations in the Pacific," said Col. David
Moeller, 613th AOC commander.
About 30,000 U.S. and Australian personnel will participate in the
exercise throughout the Pacific region stretching from the California
coast to Australia. Talisman Sabre is a jointly sponsored exercise by
the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defense Force Headquarters Joint
Operations Command, which will run through July 19.