Thursday, September 12, 2013

Joint Operational Access Exercise

A C-17 Globemaster taxis Aug. 18, 2013, at Alexandria International Airport, La. The aircraft was participating in a personnel drop of 681 U.S. Army paratroopers during Joint Operational Access Exercise 13-0X. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Russ Scalf) 
By Staff Sgt. Russ Scalf,  19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark., -- Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing flew to Alexandria International Airport, La., Aug. 18, 2013, as part of Joint Operational Access Exercise 13-0X. The Airmen provided the Army with airlift muscle for an airborne assault training exercise in conjunction with Green Flag Little Rock 13-09.

The JOAX was a single-day combined military training event designed to prepare Airmen and soldiers to respond to worldwide crises and contingencies. In the ensuing days, combat airlift missions were flown in support of simultaneous exercises conducted by multinational joint forces.

The JOAX tested the ability of three C-130H crews from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., combined with three C-130J's and three C-17 Globemasters from other units, to rapidly deploy forces into a region, demonstrate strength, and deter aggression. Numerous contingency missions were executed by the 34th Combat Training Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, through the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., delivering combat airlift support through various resupply and humanitarian missions.

"The exercise planning began at the beginning of June with a mid-planning conference July 16 and final planning conference Aug. 8, both at Pope Air Field, N.C., with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 437th Airlift Wing and C-17 planners," said Capt. Ryan Miller, the JOAX lead C-130 planner. "We had seven mission planning cell days, two meetings with all of the supporting agencies, not including the days of execution."

The Air Force's overall objectives focused on joint planning and execution, goals which were also a priority for the 19th Airlift Wing.

The wing had additional priorities of its own for the exercise. Miller reported they hoped to develop and successfully execute joint airdrop procedures. Specifically, they were seeking to gain experience in tactical planning and flying, testing national military strategy and techniques, tactics and procedures, as well as operational plans for a joint contingency response. Additionally, through partnering with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, 93rd Fighter Squadron, and New Zealand and Canadian Air Forces, the wing gained integration experience, which according to Miller, can be very difficult to obtain.

"Our involvement in JOAX was successful," said Miller. "All of the paratroopers landed safely on target and we met our objectives. After all of the consolidated efforts working with the 82nd Airborne and the C-17's, it was a relief to know we accomplished our mission, and it was a success."

In addition to the crews in the air, Airmen from Team Little Rock also supported operations by providing maintenance support at Little Rock Air Force Base and at Alexandria. In all, approximately 75 Team Little Rock Airmen played a role in the success of the various exercises.