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908th Proves Readiness for Wing’s Largest Deployment during Exercise Auburn Tide

A parachute open for a cargo air drop

A 908th Airlift Wing C-130H2 Hercules drop cargo during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bradley J. Clark)

aircraft standing

Crew chiefs from the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 908th Maintenance Squadron played a key role in Auburn Tide, a week-long deployment readiness exercise that took place here in late March. Auburn Tide served to increase the 908th Airlift Wing’s mission readiness as its members prepare for the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

4 people standing under an aircraft

Maintainers from the 908th Maintenance Group work some preflight inspects prior to an aircraft taxis for takeoff. Crew chiefs from the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 908th Maintenance Squadron played a key role in Auburn Tide, a week-long deployment readiness exercise that took place here in late March. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

Service members prepare to load cargo on an aircraft

From left, Master Sgt. Neil Moore an aerial porter with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, Chief Master Sgt. James Rickels, loadmaster superintendent with the 357th Airlift Squadron and Senior Airman John Marta, an aerial porter with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron inspect and prepare cargo to be loaded onto a C-130H Hercules during exercise Auburn Tide. The exercise was a multi-unit effort aimed at enhancing the wing’s deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Bradley J. Clark)

service members prepare to load cargo on an aircraft

Master Sgt. Neil Moore, an aerial porter with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron (left) and Master Sgt. Johnny Montgomery, a loadmaster with the 357th Airlift Squadron review a cargo manifest during exercise Auburn Tide. The exercise was a multi-unit effort aimed at enhancing the wing’s deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Bradley J. Clark)

service members load cargo on an aircraft

Senior Master Sgt. Kelvin Pettus, a loadmaster with the 357th Airlift Squadron (left), and Tech. Sgt. Gary Broaden, Moore an aerial porter with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, guide a forklift bearing cargo in preparation for a tactical air drop mission during exercise Auburn Tide. The exercise was a multi-unit effort aimed at enhancing the wing’s deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Bradley J. Clark)

service members load cargo on an aircraft

Loadmasters from the 357th Airlift Squadron and aerial porters with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron load cargo onto a C-130H Hercules during exercise Auburn Tide. The exercise was a multi-unit effort aimed at enhancing the wing’s deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Bradley J. Clark)

man salutes and aircraft before it departs

908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Marshall salutes an aircraft before it taxis for a takeoff. Crew chiefs from the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 908th Maintenance Squadron played a key role in Auburn Tide, a week-long deployment readiness exercise that took place here in late March. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

cargo dropped from an aircraft

Two of the 908th Airlift Wing’s C-130H Hercules drop cargo during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

two men daisy chaining
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Senior Airman John Marta (foreground), and Tech. Sgt. Gary Broaden (background) both air transportation specialists with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, retrieve a parachute after a cargo drop during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bradley J. Clark)

a woman daisy chaining parachute lines
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Airman Makayla Silas, an air transportation specialist with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron “daisy chains” parachute lines after a cargo drop during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

a forklift preparing to load cargo on a truck
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Senior Airman John Marta, an air transportation specialist with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, retrieves cargo with a forklift after a cargo air drop during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bradley J. Clark)

a forklift loading cargo onto a truck
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Senior Airman John Marta, an air transportation specalist with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, retrieves cargo with a forklift after a cargo drop during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

a cargo pallet on a truck
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Master Sgt. Michael Smith, an air transportation specialist with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, secures cargo for transport after a cargo drop during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

a man securing cargo on a truck
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Master Sgt. Michael Smith, an air transportation specalist with the 25th Aerial Port Squadron, secures cargo for transport after a cargo drop during exercise Auburn Tide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Auburn Tide was a wing-wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness aimed at sharpening the skills of 908th Airmen in the months leading up to the largest deployment in the wing’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bradley J. Clark)

an aircraft flies overhead as people tend to patients.
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Airmen from the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron prepare patients for transport March 23, 2021, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The exercise took place as part of the larger exercise Auburn Tide, a wing wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shelby Thurman)

a person prepares to lift a stretcher
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An Airman from the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron holds onto a litter March 23, 2021, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The exercise took place as part of the larger exercise Auburn Tide, a wing wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shelby Thurman)

people carrying a patient on a stretcher
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Airmen from the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron carry a litter to the side of the flight line March 23, 2021, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The exercise took place as part of the larger exercise Auburn Tide, a wing wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shelby Thurman)

People getting ready to move patients
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Airmen from the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron stand with their patients, which included a 908th Security Forces Squadron security dog and its handler, March 23, 2021, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The exercise took place as part of the larger exercise Auburn Tide, a wing wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shelby Thurman)

People treating a dog
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Captian Gabrielle Montone, Ft. Benning, Georgia, Veterinary Clinic intern, instructs 908th Airlift Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commander Lt. Col. Amy Sanderson in canine CPR techniques at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, March 7, 2021. Montone and her team conducted canine-specific medical training designed to prepare 908 AES members to provide proper care to Military Working Dogs who are injured in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. John T. Stamm)

People treating a dog
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Captian Beth Byles, Ft. Benning, Georgia, Veterinary Clinic officer in charge, provides instruction to Capt. Desiree Statler, 908th Airlift Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, on proper canine casualty techniques at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, March 7, 2021. Byles and her team conducted canine-specific medical training designed to prepare 908 AES members to provide proper care to Military Working Dogs who are injured in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. John Stamm)

People treating a dog
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Sergeant Kelli Hellfinstine, Maxwell Veterinary Service non-commissioned officer in charge, instruction 908th Airlift Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron medical technicians Senior Airman Daquan Foster (left) and Senior Airman Tyson Eggleson on proper techniques to secure an injured canine for transportation at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, March 7, 2021. Hellfinstine assisted a team from the Ft. Benning, Georgia, Veterinary Clinic conducting canine-specific medical training designed to prepare 908 AES members to provide proper care to Military Working Dogs who are injured in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. John T. Stamm)

two airmen share a high five next to an aircraft
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908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Marshall high five's another crew chief before the taxis for a takeoff. Crew chiefs from the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 908th Maintenance Squadron played a key role in Auburn Tide, a week-long deployment readiness exercise that took place here in late March. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

For more than a year now the 908th Airlift Wing has been faced with the task of figuring out how to protect its members and their families from COVID-19 while still being able to answer the nation’s call when it comes. One of the first things the wing commander, Col. Craig Drescher, said in readjusting the wing’s priorities was that, “we have to find a way to lean forward and still accomplish and preserve as much of the mission as possible.”

In the last year, the wing has taken the commander’s words to heart, as it knew it was facing the largest deployment in the history of the 908th AW this year.

To help showcase the wing’s motto, “Readiness in Strength,” the 908th held a wing-wide exercise in conjunction with one of the many monthly tactical airlift training weeks it has had in the past year.

While exercise Auburn Tide, aptly named for Alabama’s only Reserve wing, didn’t feature every member of the wing, it did focus on many of the jobs needed to accomplish the tactical airlift mission of the wing. Featuring maintainers from the 908th Maintenance and Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons to fix, prepare and generate aircraft for missions; air transportation specialists from the 25th Aerial Port Squadron to pack, rig, and provide various equipment used for air drops; medical community members from the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron to prepare and provide patient care to wounded members downrange, inflight, and at local medical treatment facilities; and lastly the aircrews that fly all of these important missions, either delivering supplies or troops to the front lines, or air evacuation mission of bringing members back to a safe treatment facility.

“The main goal of this exercise is to ramp up our operations and challenge our members,” said Capt. Justin Bell, director of inspections for the 908th inspector general’s office. “We create situations that are tailored towards combat operations that are close to what we’ll encounter in a deployed environment. As an inspector I’m looking to ensure that all our members are ready to carry out the mission and can be deployment capable within 72 hours.”

The ability to deploy anywhere, anytime at a moment’s notice is critical to the 908th’s tactical airlift mission. Auburn Tide will serve to bolster our Reserve Citizen Airmen’s readiness and mission capability.

“While we’ve had our share of adversity this past year, the members of the 908th have consistently adapted and overcame every challenge,” said Drescher. “I have full confidence that our members will continue to be resilient and mission ready as they deploy.”

 

Located at Maxwell Air Force Base and operating a fleet of nine C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft, the 908th is Alabama’s only Air Force Reserve wing. The wing has approximately 1,200 Reserve Citizen Airmen, serving in more than 20 career fields, with Air Reserve Technicians, civilian employees and Reservists on active duty tours conducting day-to-day operations. Over the spring and summer of 2021, the 908th will engage in the largest deployment in wing history - sending more than 300 Airmen to locations around the globe.