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Total Force Training Prepares Airmen, Soldiers For Contingency Ops

  • Published
  • By Julian Hernandez
  • 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

433rd Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen worked with U.S. Army North’s Task Force 51 personnel to conduct a joint cargo upload training event here on May 20. 

The training opportunity was designed for Task Force 51, a deployable command post that provides mission command options for routine and contingency operations in the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility, to validate load plans and certify their ability to move assets on a C-5M Super Galaxy.  

For Alamo Wing Airmen, it allowed them to hone skills related to multiple parts of the cargo upload process including conducting a joint inspection prior to upload, processing the necessary documents following the inspection, and uploading the cargo on to the aircraft. 

Task Force 51 brought a total of six vehicles for inspection and upload. Airmen, Soldiers, and Department of Defense civilians worked together to inspect the vehicles, ensuring they were configured in accordance with Air Force air transportation regulations. 

“We're bringing all of our rolling stock for Task Force 51 for the contingency command post that would go forward in an event,” said U.S. Army Maj. Jennifer Newman, Task Force 51 chief of current operations.  

“It's very important currently because we have had a change in our rolling stock,” Newman said. “We have lost two vehicles and gained another piece of equipment, so this equipment has never been validated on an aircraft before.”  

Task Force 51 is most often activated in response to natural disasters such as hurricanes. With the deadly hurricane season set to open on June 1, the ability to move quickly using platforms like the C-5M Super galaxy is critical.  

The Alamo Wing’s C-5 Formal Training Unit is responsible for all initial and advanced C-5 air crew qualification. Realistic training opportunities directly contribute to the 433rd AW mission of providing combat ready Reserve Citizen Airmen anywhere, anytime.  

This training event provided hands-on experience for Airmen from multiple specialties and demonstrated the 433rd AW’s ability to operate as part of the joint force.  

“Our job in this case is to train load masters and air transportation specialists,” said MSgt. Alejandro Molina, a 733rd Training Squadron transportation specialist and the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of this training event. 

“For our loadmasters, we’re teaching them how to load, how they are supposed to tie the equipment down whether its pallets, vehicles, or loose cargo,” Molina said. “The air transportation specialists are learning to handle cargo check in, which involves weighing, measuring and finding the center of balance, checking for hazards and ensuring the cargo is air worthy, then inspecting the paperwork for adherence to regulation before passing it off to the loadmasters for upload.” 

Molina highlighted the versatility of this training. “We’ve worked with the Army, Navy, CIA, FBI, Border Patrol,” he said.  “Any outside agency that requires training to load cargo on C-5's or any other plane they're deploying on, we can teach them.” 

For both units, the event yielded multiple lessons learned including how to better coordinate ahead of time to facilitate upload operations and understanding equipment limitations. These lessons will help make responding to a real-world contingency easier.  

The joint training event served as example of the importance of building relationships and rapport across different military services to enhance overall readiness. 

“There's no official agreement between the 433rd and Task Force 51,” said Brent Harrington, Task Force 51 deputy chief of staff. “The relationship was built based on connections between members of both organizations, so we established this mutually beneficial training event based off personalities.” 

Newman echoed Harrington’s sentiment and praised the efforts of the service members who worked together to make the training happen. 

“The 433rd actually made it very easy,” Newman said “These are not normally easy things because we are multicomponent, we've got Reserve Component, Active Component, some of us are even from the National Guard. Getting all of these entities working together in a resource constrained environment can be difficult, but they've made it very easy for us and we've been very pleased."