Little Rock officials lead joint force training effort at exercise
By SOF Editor on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 10:40am
POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. (AFNS) -- Members of the 19th Airlift Wing from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., took the lead at the Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 10-01 held here Oct. 25 through 29. The purpose of the JFEX is to re-establish forcible entry capability through airpower by combining Army and Air Force training needs, said Col. Dave Kasberg, the 19th Operations Group commander and JFEX air mission commander. "It's an integrated, joint focus with a common intel scenario," he said. "We get (the training) we need, the Army gets what they need, they match up nicely, and it's all driven by the ground situation." The ability to combine both Soldiers and aircrews to get to the fight made training here a logical choice due to its close proximity to Fort Bragg, N.C., and its teamwork with Soldiers there. "It's hard for us to get personnel drops, because there aren't a lot of jumpers (in Arkansas)," Colonel Kasberg said. "We're also limited on the amount of container delivery systems we can get based on manning and resources back at Little Rock (AFB) from a logistics perspective. We don't have a lot of equipment we can drop. We want realistic training from an Air Force perspective, which means real loads. We're not dropping containers of water or concrete, we're dropping howitzers, we're dropping food. We're doing actual combat offloads so we're actually offloading equipment. The Army needs that stuff as well as the actual jumps themselves. It's a perfect link-up of our requirements and theirs." The 19th AW officials provided four C-130 Hercules aircraft to support the exercise. The wing's participation makes sense, Colonel Kasberg said. "We're the largest C-130 wing in the Air Force. When you're looking for C-130 combat airlift, Little Rock (AFB) is the place to find it. We're providing the bulk of the C-130s. With the (Air Education and Training Command) schoolhouse being at Little Rock, the 189th (Airlift Wing), and the weapons school, everything 'Herc' is at Little Rock," the colonel said. In light of the ongoing conflict in the Southwest Asia, the need for a cohesive military remains vital. The exercise's focus on training the joint force together is indicative that one military branch cannot win a war by itself. "As Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have shown, it's not a unilateral fight," Colonel Kasberg said. "The joint involvement has to be necessary to make any exercise applicable. If you're going to do an exercise and you don't make it joint, you're just wasting your time." The exercise's emphasis on learning how to work under shifting conditions is essential to learning how to operate in a deployed setting, said Capt. Bif French, the 41st Airlift Squadron assistant chief of training and a pilot/aircraft commander for the JFEX. "We are learning how to work with a crew in a deployed environment under strenuous conditions. By emulating deployed (operations) our focus is on being able to work in a dynamic environment with changing scenarios," he said. "When we deploy, everything changes by the minute. If we're not able to adapt to changing conditions, we're going to run into problems."