MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. – The 452d Air Mobility Wing (AMW) has successfully concluded a four-day exercise aimed at testing its rapid deployment capabilities. The exercise took place at March Air Reserve Base on May 15-18 as part of a comprehensive wing-wide inspection conducted by the Headquarters Air Force Reserve Inspector General (HQ AFRC/IG).
During the exercise, the 452D AMW evaluated three key capabilities. Col. Erik Aufderheide, the 452D AMW Base Commander, explained, "We looked at our ability to rapidly deploy personnel and cargo all over the world, in response to combatant commander needs. We tested our deployers' ability to operate and carry out our mission objectives in contested environments. We also took a hard look at our own evaluation methods that our Wing Inspection Team (WIT) members use to review our processes and highlight areas for improvement or if we need to practice more. We have to practice like we’re going to play, at a level that is as realistic as possible."
Multiple units participated in the exercise, from the 452d Force Support Squadron (FSS) and supporting personnel responsible for processing personnel during deployment to the 452d Operations Group flying sorties to transport individuals needing medical care, almost every section of the wing was involved in making this exercise a success.
The exercise also involved resiliency and readiness functions, with the WIT and inspectors from the HQ AFRC/IG evaluating the 452D AMW capabilities. “This readiness exercise was designed test our Airmen’s critical thinking skills,” Lt. Col. Jason Merrill, 452nd AMW Operations Group Deputy Commander, stated. “The goal is to make them more resilient and survivable in a contested environment, increase their lethality, and provide them the confidence that they will overcome and win any future challenge they face,” he added.
Colonel Aufderheide expressed his appreciation for the collaboration among various agencies, stating, "It's amazing to watch our team come together especially those who don't typically work together on a daily basis to accomplish our mission. Being ready now is paramount in todays current environment. Our airmen are a sharpened weapon ready to be deployed at a moment's notice."
Ensuring the readiness of all units to deploy and execute their missions remains a top priority for the 452D AMW. Due to the multiple mission sets encompassed in the 452nd AMW many of the scenarios in the exercise were unique. One example of this was a hot refuel for one of the KC-135s playing in the exercise, a first for the Air Force Reserve.
Col. J. Corey Reed, Vice Commander of the 452D AMW, emphasized the importance of readiness exercises, saying, "It’s all about muscle memory and keeping our skills honed. When our units come together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. At the end of the day we have the responsibility to ensure that when the time comes, our airmen are not only ready, but also the foremost expert on delivering mobility capabilities to the fight."
Undoubtedly, exercises like this one demonstrate the 452D AMW commitment to supporting these mission sets.
"For the sake of readiness and ensuring that the mission can be executed anywhere in the world, at any time, we must maintain these skills. We need to be prepared, plain and simple. Fight’s on," added Col. Aufderheide.