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Altus Air Force Base hosts joint training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Megan E. Acs
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Army Soldiers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, practiced loading and unloading a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft alongside U.S. Air Force loadmasters Oct 2, 2014.

The intent of the training was to improve joint-operability between the Army and the Air Force, and ensure the 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, is prepared for real world rapid deployments.

"We're doing air load operations right now in preparation for our contingency expeditionary force assumption," said U.S. Army Capt. Michael Savageau, commander of 4-3 ADA at Fort Sill, Okla. "We're going through and streamlining our processes to ensure that we're doing it correctly now. Any deficiencies are noted, and then in the event we actually have a real-world mission, we can do it rapidly and effectively."

This is the first training mission he's done year, though they look to train here more often to ensure they are doing everything appropriately and effectively.

The battalion brought about 100 Soldiers and 15 different pieces of equipment to Altus for the training.

"A lot of these soldiers are young, straight out of advanced individual training. This is the first opportunity they've had to practice or rehearse any type of rapid deployment, which is what we're simulating here," said Savageau. "They got to see the whole gamut of our rapid deployment."

Before beginning, the soldiers had to make sure the vehicles were in compliance for loading on the aircraft by taking steps such as checking the tires for foreign objects, making sure there were no fluids leaking and weighing and measuring the vehicles.

"Many of the Soldiers and vehicles have never even been on a C-17 before, so we had to make sure they didn't exceed aircraft limitations and our technical order regulations as well," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Laura Bourdlais, 58th Airlift Squadron instructor loadmaster. "We practiced driving each vehicle on and off of the aircraft, as well as taught them how to apply restraint to the vehicles."

Restraint is calculated depending upon the weight of the vehicle, and the verified amount of restraint each chain provides.

Bourdlais said this is important for the Soldiers to learn, because they may not always have trained Air Force aid at the ready.

"For them to help out in any capacity is going to be very beneficial to not just them getting out of there, or in there quicker, but to us as well," said Bourdlais.

"I really enjoy working with the Army, as well as other services. Working jointly between services allows individuals from each branch to be able to get a bigger picture of how we all work together," said Bourdlais, "While today may have just been a practice run, some day we may be working together again for an operational mission, and today's training will greatly enhance the timeliness of the loading/unloading as well as the effectiveness of the mission. At the end of the day, we're all just people working together to serve our country and keep it safe."