By Senior Master Sgt. Paula Macomber, 152nd Airlift Wing
/ Published April 01, 2021
A 152nd Airlift Wing C-130H sits on the ramp at sunset among several C-17s at Green Flag 21-05 in Little Rock, Ark.
Capt. Curry and Senior Airman Newberry utilizing the Multi-Capable Airman Concept during Green Flag 21-05 at Little Rock, Ark. March 14, 2021.
Early in March of 2021, the 192nd Airlift Squadron sent a C-130H, aircrew, and support personnel from the 152nd Operations Support Squadron and the 152nd Maintenance Group to participate in Green Flag 21-05 at Little Rock, Ark. The intent of this exercise is to integrate a variety of joint assets for a training rotation to help hone the warfighting skills of all units involved.
For the flying crews, Green Flag challenges aircrews with realistic, rigorous, and intense training environment that replicates the irregular warfare conditions found in a typical Area of Responsibility. This includes complex inter-fly formation missions with other airframes/services, threat avoidance, on-call airdrops, Survival Evasion, Resistance and Escape scenarios, and rigid timelines, all within the dynamic Joint Readiness Training Center airspace.
The first challenge the team faced upon arrival was to establish a fully functioning Combined Air Operations Center in an unforgiving environment with no airbase infrastructure. Within 24 hours of arrival on scene, the 192AS mission planning cell team set up a fully functioning MPC that seamlessly integrated with the other players’ MPCs, and allowed for collaboration across a multitude of different mission design series (or airframes). This concept of Agile Combat Employment is a collaboration of multiple assets to create and implement processes where warfighters can be supplied, launched, and supported in austere locations without the conveniences provided by an established base infrastructure.
“In addition to the outstanding combat flying training,” C-130H MPC Chief, Capt. Megan Curry said, “This exercise allows the mission planning cell to identify weaknesses that we need to address in Agile Combat Employment operation. That way we can focus our efforts on efficient techniques and procedures.”
Green Flag 21-05 also allowed the 192AS an opportunity to employ the Multi-Capable Airman concept. Senior Airman Gabriel Newberry from 152nd Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment section deployed to Green Flag expecting to manage the crew’s flight equipment, launch/receive the aircraft, and to get an introduction to deployed operations. In addition to those responsibilities, Newberry was trained in mission planning/tactics and played an important role in planning a multi-ship, C-130H/J formation inter-fly with other airframes/services.
“It was really cool to be a part of the mission planning process.” Newberry said, “That’s a valuable experience I can apply to my role in AFE now that I better understand the mission and its requirements.”
The 192AS provided the only C-130H in the vast exercise, showcasing the unique mission set of the legacy aircraft. While the C-130J and C-17 are capable of visual airdrop in the form of ground marked release system and/or verbally initiated release system, the C-130H is the only MDS that is able to use the visual airdrop techniques of spot drop and sight angle. These techniques provide airdrop capability when the mission computer and/or radar is unreliable or in a degraded environment. In that scenario, the C-130H becomes the only aircraft able to achieve 100% mission success.
In total, Green Flag 21-05 mission summary included: 122 total sorties; 34 missions; 128.4 flying hours; 6 mass container delivery system airdrops; 54 total CDS bundles dropped; 636 total training requirements accomplished.
“Participating in Green Flag is not only exceptional training in general, but it also allows new deployers to fully engross themselves into a mock-deployment environment so they’re better prepared to execute the mission safely and effectively when the time comes.” Curry added. “By participating in this year’s Green Flag exercise, we were able to demonstrate the versatility and strength of our unit, our aircraft, and our people. We play a vital role in tactical airlift and it’s gratifying to be able to demonstrate that to our active duty brethren who are often unfamiliar with the H-model’s multiple and unique capabilities.”