Military News

Friday, July 24, 2015

TRANSCOM assesses CRW, JTF-PO capabilities during Exercise Turbo Distribution

by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

The 621st Contingency Response Wing deployed Airmen from the 821st Contingency Response Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., for an exercise to test Joint Task Force Port-Opening capabilities here, July 18-24.

Approximately 106 U.S. Air Force Airmen, along with approximately 51 U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 690th Rapid Port Opening Element stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and three members of the Defense Logistics Agency participated as part of the JTF-PO in Turbo Distribution 15-7.

During TD 15-7, U.S. Transportation Command assessed JTF-PO's ability to amass and distribute cargo during humanitarian relief operations. Throughout the exercise, JTF-PO established a forward distribution node for logistics flow in support of a notional U.S. Department of State humanitarian relief mission. DLA facilitated onward movement of the cargo beyond the forward node.

Airmen from the 621st CRW located at Travis AFB and JBMDL regularly train with RPOE units from JBLE on a quarterly basis to maintain proficiency and to develop familiarity between the units.

"Anytime that you can practice what you go do in an operation with those that you would go do it with and train together, that's the value of this," said Col. Rhett Champagne, 821 CRG commander and JTF-PO commander for TD 15-7. "There are two CRGs that will share the alert with three RPOEs, so we are going to see each other again and again over a two year period. You see the same faces so when you actually go out on the field and work together, you know each other's tactics, techniques, procedures, processes."

According to Champagne, when both Army and Air Force units combine to make a JTF-PO, everyone goes through the forming, norming, storming, and performing, stages.

"When you can storm at an exercise, that's the best place to do it so that you can reduce (storming) when you actually go out on (deployment)," he said.
Senior Airman Ralph Hoeflich, 821 CRG security forces defender, has deployed in the past year with a JTF-PO team and thinks TD exercises are similar to what they experience in a real-world contingency.

"Our job is very similar as far as perimeter, flight line security and setting up our entry control points," he said. "TD helps us prepare because we practice exactly what we need to do in a deployment. Working with the Army helps us understand what they have to get done and what we have to get done and how to work together to do it."

The 621st CRW specializes in rapidly establishing hubs for cargo distribution operations worldwide, whether in contested, permissive, or uncertain environments. Previous deployments include humanitarian assistance support missions to Liberia, Haiti, Pakistan, Japan, and contingency deployments in support of military operations in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Iraq and South America.

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