NEWS | March 3, 2017

Team Charleston spells out cargo capability with chalks

By Airman 1st Class Megan Munoz Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston hosted Exercise Bonny Jack, a two-day mobility exercise testing the cargo deployment capabilities of the 628th Air Base Wing and 437th Airlift Wing here, March 1 and 2.

The exercise started at 9 a.m., March 1 when the 437th Aerial Port Squadron (APS) received a simulated executive order from 628th LRS directing cargo to be moved to the U.S. Pacific Command.

“These exercises are an opportunity for us to gauge where we are as an installation in our readiness to deploy personnel and cargo,” said 2nd Lt. Ryan Holler, 628th LRS Deployment and Distribution Flight officer in charge. “We regularly deploy so this our chance to stress the system and see where our shortfalls are. That way when a real world scenario happens, we are prepared for it.”

For the scenario, the 628th LRS Installation Deployment Office was notified of a potential need for cargo two weeks ago. The cargo was moved in four chalks totaling 95 tons of cargo. A formation of aircraft on a mission, known as a sortie, is comprised of chalks. A chalk is the aircraft and the equipment, crew and cargo inside.

Each chalk took approximately 10 hours to check-in, inspect and transport. The last of the cargo from chalk four was brought to the flightline at 11:20 a.m., March 2.

"Overall, this exercise went very well," said Lt. Col. Jason Morrison, 437th AW inspector general. "There were a few minor bumps along the way. Now that we know what they are, we can smooth them out for future operations. The 437th AW runs 24-hour operations, 365 days a year. Exercises like this develop highly capable Airmen who guarantee rapid global access for the joint team."

Various units conducted 24-hour operations bringing cargo to the Cargo Deployment Facility throughout the exercise. The units prepared their own cargo before loading it on pallets to be transported. At the facility, the cargo was inspected and deemed flightworthy. Later, the cargo moved to the flightline in a staging area to complete requirements of the exercise.

 “We demonstrated the various capabilities of Joint Base Charleston,” said Holler. “If there is a crisis or contingency where we need to stand up and rapidly deploy, we can do that.”