Operation Silver Galaxy participants train for future deployments
By Ben Faske, 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 30, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The 433rd Airlift Wing hosted the 1st Calvary Division, 1st Air Combat Brigade, 615th Aviation Support Battalion out of Ft. Hood, Texas in support of Operation Silver Galaxy a training exercise, June 20 through 25.
The five-day exercise gave U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Air Force Airmen an opportunity to train together to further their understanding of the inter-service capabilities during a deployment buildup. For the Army, Soldiers were provided a unique opportunity to breakdown and load UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, and CH-47 Chinook Helicopters into the cargo hold of a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft.
Normally, the 1st Air Calvary Brigade would load their aircraft onto naval vessels bound for their deployment. However, when time is of the essence, these same aircraft can be loaded into C-5’s and be delivered within 24 hours into forward deployed locations.
"It really just depends on how fast they need the equipment," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Smith, 615th Aviation Support Battalion control non-commissioned officer in charge. "We are training with the Air Force so that our people can learn the proper way to load onto a C-5."
The 615th ASB mission is to provide fuel, ground maintenance, aviation maintenance, signal support and medical support to the aviation task force conducting high elevation training.
An important aspect to the exercise was to work with the 26th and 74th Aerial Port Squadrons on load inspections. The inspection process is vital into safely moving equipment in the C-5M. For many Soldiers, the exercise was their first opportunity to be inspected by an Air Force aerial port team.
"This is significant because we are working directly with the Air Force Reserve, specifically the inspectors and load masters, we don't get that opportunity very often to do this kind of inspection and perform these loading procedures," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew McMillan, 615th Aviation Support Battalion officer in charge. "We do have some units that require us to send aircraft to more remote locations and that's where we are going to take advantage of Air Mobility Command's capability to put us in these strategic locations."
The hospitality of the Citizen Airmen to their Army brothers-in-arms did not go unnoticed.
"The 433rd Airlift wing has been amazing, working with our military brethren, the support and hospitality has just been great." said McMillan.