by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
7/24/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
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
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
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,
According to Champagne, when both Army and Air Force units combine to
make a JTF-PO, everyone goes through the forming, norming, storming, and
"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.