Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 28, 2016 at 7:13am

No-notice EDRE

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division board a C-17 Globemaster III July 16, at Pope Army Airfield, N.C. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

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POPE ARMY AIRFIELD, N.C. - Airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord teamed up with airmen from other Air Mobility Command units to deliver equipment and paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, into Fort Polk, Louisiana, July 17, as part of a no-notice Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.

The exercise, called Operation Devil Strike, showcased the abilities of Mobility Air Forces and the 82nd Airborne Division to perform a Joint Forcible Entry into a hostile environment on short notice.

Given a very limited amount of time to plan, airmen from JBLM's 62nd Airlift Wing; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Littlerock Air Force Base, Arkansas; Travis Air Force Base, California; Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; and Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, began deploying C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft to Pope Army Airfield to begin planning the operation.

Using Pope as the base of operations, the exercise scenario called for a Joint Forcible Entry of Fort Polk, which stood in for the fictional city of Dara Lam, the capital of the fictitious country of Atropia. In the scenario, Dara Lam had been taken over by hostile forces and the government turned to the United States for help.

Prior to beginning the operation, Maj. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, 82nd Airborne Division commanding general, commented on the scale of the operation during his joint mission brief.

"This is the largest (EDRE) I've seen in a long time," said Clarke to the soldiers and airmen attending the brief. "Looking at all those C-17s on the tarmac, if that doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, something's wrong."

Addressing the airmen in attendance, Clarke continued, "This is a joint effort. The 82nd's mission is to jump, fight and win, and you guys have made that a reality every single time."

In order to infiltrate the drop zone under the cover of night, Army paratroopers began boarding the C-17 and C-130 aircraft in the late hours July 16, in preparation for the three-hour flight to the airdrop location. Once there, aircrews began dropping their payloads of jumpers and heavy equipment over the target, before heading back to Pope Army Airfield.

All told, a total of 18 aircraft delivered more than 700 paratroopers and heavy equipment to the infiltration site at Fort Polk.

"The mission was a complete success," said Col. David Owens, 62nd Operations Group commander, and the air mission commander for the exercise. "The mission planning cell hit an absolute homerun with little to no sleep.  They were given a problem on day one; within a few days, the solution they provided the Army and our aircrews was safe and executable. That said, the aircrews crushed their part.  The entire team delivered the 82nd on time and on target."

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