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Guam Reserve Citizen Airmen support Cope North exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary Andom
  • 624th Regional Support Group

Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 44th Aerial Port Squadron here participated in Cope North 2021, a multilateral U.S. Pacific Air Forces-sponsored field training exercise conducted on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 3-19.

The goal of Cope North is to improve combat readiness, develop integrated humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and increase interoperability of U.S. Forces, Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force, or Koku-Jieitai, said 2nd Lt. Maria Chaco, the 44th APS Passenger Services officer-in-charge.

Twenty-four Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 44th APS provided traditional air transportation mission support to the 734th Air Mobility Squadron and the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron here. During the exercise, the integrated team supported over 100 total missions, moved approximately 2,600 passengers and delivered more than 2.4 million pounds of cargo.

Cope North provides Reserve Citizen Airmen the opportunity to hone their skills and familiarize themselves with the operations tempo in a simulated real world multinational contingency, said Chaco.

“The integration and training with active duty Airmen and enhancing interoperability with our coalition partners is extremely valuable,” said Chaco. “There are no other mechanisms for us to get this type of exercise training in this AOR and it allows us to train how we should fight.”

Due to COVID-19 measures, Reserve Citizen Airmen practiced and employed all necessary safety precautions.

“Our members are constantly briefed about the three W’s prior to the onset of the exercise: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear your mask,” said Chaco.

Master Sgt. Emelita Pineda, the 44th APS cargo supervisor and 36th LRS team chief for Cope North, said communication, collaboration and cohesiveness are vital to accomplish the mission.

“As Air Transportation advisors, we advise our active duty counterparts on how to properly prepare their cargo, equipment, rolling stock prior to the Joint Inspection,” said Pineda. “Our Airmen are exposed to the interoperability capabilities of our allies and take ownership of training to be the best in our region and the pride that comes from a successful event.”

During seasonal training Airman First Class Michelle Fatovic, a 44th APS ramp services representative, participated in the Cope North exercise for the first time. The event showed her how powerful the air transportation mission is, she said.

“It has been a real eye opener working with our active duty partners and seeing the enormous impact we can have on the mission of the Air Force and our allies,” said Fatovic.

The 44th Aerial Port Squadron is part of the 624th Regional Support Group which is the largest Air Force Reserve presence in the Pacific and has four units located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and two units at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.