Military News

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Team McChord executes missions during JOAX

by Senior Airman Divine Cox
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/3/2015 - Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -- C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and flight crews from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., flew to Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Oct. 26, in support of the Joint Operational Access Exercise 16-1.

JOAX was a nine-day combined military training exercise designed to prepare Airmen and Soldiers to respond to worldwide crises and contingencies. JOAX prepared air mobility forces along with Army and Canadian paratroopers, to respond as part of the Global Response Force.

The GRF is a joint force that can deploy and have service members on the ground within 96-hours on short notice anywhere in the world.

"The main purpose of the exercise from the Air Force perspective was to safely execute Global Response Force training," said Col. David Owens, 62nd Operations Group commander. "We wanted to conduct large formation operations and insert the 82nd Airborne Division."

Team McChord loadmasters were tasked daily to load cargo and personnel onto C-17's for the upcoming mission.

"I am responsible for every load that enters and exits the aircraft," said Staff Sgt. Eric Hatchey, 8th AS loadmaster. "I wanted to make sure I did everything right to ensure safe delivery of all cargo and personnel."

Not only did McChord support the exercise with aircrew and aircraft, Airmen on the ground worked nonstop to ensure operations went smoothly.

"I'm very proud of everything these guys did," said Capt. Justin Jarrell, 62nd Operations Group weapons officer and JOAX lead planner. "They worked hard every day and every night to get the aircraft ready to go."

Daily the loadmasters had to configure and reconfigure the aircraft to support each mission for that day.

"Once the engines started and the aircraft took off, I knew it was game on," said Staff Sergeant Jose Montoya, 8th AS loadmaster. "This was my first personnel drop and seeing cargo and personnel leave the aircraft safely was a good feeling. The attention to detail and hard work the crew put in made this experience enjoyable."

In addition to the crews in the air, Airmen from the 62nd Maintenance Group at McChord Field also supported operations by providing maintenance support. In all, approximately 35 McChord Airmen played a role in the success of the exercise.

"From day one, I preached safety, mission and execute," said Owens. "Daily, these Airmen impressed me by safely executing every mission."

Exercises such as JOAX give Team McChord Airmen the opportunity to train as a team with other military branches.

According to exercise planners, the joint team successfully met all of their training objectives.

"McChord's involvement in the joint exercise was a success," said Jarrell. "All of the paratroopers landed safely and we met our objectives. It was a relief to know that all the effort we put in and the coordination with the 82nd ABD was successful.

''It's good to come out here and see how the Army and Air Force coordinate, he added. Both branches worked together to ensure training requirements were met."

"I feel confident in our Airmen and our Army counterparts," Jarrell said. "Because of this continuous training, as a force, we will be ready to respond when called upon.

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