MDL airpower trains for crisis response

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lauren Russell
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Pubic Affairs

Airmen from the 305th Air Mobility Wing, 87th Air Base Wing, 621st Contingency Response Wing, and 514th Air Mobility Wing kicked off the operational readiness exercise Crisis Response 2017 on March 6.

The CR17 is meant to demonstrate the mobility capabilities of JB MDL Airmen, deploying four wings at the same time and maintaining forward operations of the KC-10 Extender and C-17 Globemaster III under a seamless total force integration of active duty and reserve service members.


“The 305th and the 514th work together every day,” said Col. Dennis Duffy, vice commander of the 514th AMW. “However, by bringing in the 621st and the 87th, it adds a complexity, but also a realism to this deployment.”


Unlike exercises in previous years, coordinators for CR17 focused the deployment around a more unfamiliar scenario, but one that may someday be a reality.


“Our crews are accustomed to how we mobilize in the KC-10 because we’re in a constant state of deployment,” said Duffy. “This year, we have a different but not unlikely scenario that may be a future reality.


“We always have to train like we fight,” added Duffy. “We need our people to be able to think on their feet.”


Before deploying, lead planners for CR17 visited each participating unit and asked what the respective leadership wanted for their Airmen to get out of the training, explained Col. Joe Potts, special assistant to the 514th AMW commander.


“Our inspectors are looking to impose some stress and then measure the outcome,” said Potts. “We want to identify any short falls that we have in training, so we can address them.”


The joint base is already home to a complex organizational construct with each wing’s mission directly tying into the next. With CR17 now in full swing, Airmen from across JB MDL are training to better blend their unique directives.


“We have our folks in flight suits, and you can see from their patches what wing they belong to, but for those in [Airmen battle uniforms], it’s pretty transparent; you can’t tell who belongs to who,” said Potts.  “It’s already so blended, it’s clearly total force integration.”


With such a unique structure at home station, units at Joint Base MDL are able to mobilize and utilize their unique air power capabilities in a way that other bases are not able, explained Col. David Pavey, 514th AMW commander, allowing for exclusive training and exercise opportunities.


“Fly, fight and win; that’s what we do,” said Pavey. “We have to extract the last ounce of capability from every penny, and we must continually improve and create synergies.  The Joint Base team can provide opportunities that other bases don’t have.  We have a great team with these four wings participating as we are.”