Army, Air Force wrap-up training

February 15, 2011 1:10:49 PM PST
Army and Air Force units from across the country are wrapping up a week-long training exercise near Moore County.The full-scale operation -- complete with C-130 and C-17 transport planes, a full base camp, and air-traffic control built from the ground up -- is meant to help the two distinct branches of the military work together as one.

"We know we're going to see each other again," said Col. David Chandler of the U.S. Air Force. "It's not a matter of if, it's where and when. So the opportunity to train and do joint training together to insure our interoperability in day one and minute one of any operation is priceless."

A perfect example came just one year ago in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Eyewitness News was there as aid from around the world flew in unannounced, creating airport gridlock.

That is -- until these units showed up to take control.

"What could have been a traffic jam turned into an efficient operation to save lives," Chandler said.

Quick-response humanitarian and combat operations involving both branches typically begin with the Air Force, and its massive transport planes. With just 12 hours notice, units are trained to bring supplies and equipment anywhere in the world, and set up their own airfield to do it.

It's when the gear is off the planes that the real coordination begins. Airmen will remove items from the transport planes, and bring them off the tarmac. At that point, they are transferred to Army control, and moved into the field, where they are needed most.

"The challenge is communication," said Sgt. First Class Robert Skinner of the U.S. Army. "With anything we do its communication. Once we have communication flowing between the Air Force and the Army, it expedites the process."

The 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg hosted the training.

Airmen from the 615th Contingency Response Wing and soldiers from the 597th Transportation Brigade participated.

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