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NEWS | May 24, 2018

JB Charleston shows air capabilities with large formation exercise

By Senior Airman Christian Sullivan Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Approximately 15 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings provided airdrop support for the U.S. Army’s 509th Infantry Regiment, Fort Polk, Louisiana, May 22 through a large formation exercise. During the flight, the C-17s flew over several prominent landmarks in South Carolina including the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and the South Carolina State House while performing various training exercises.


The exercise helped showcase Joint Base Charleston’s ability to execute and sustain rapid global mobility by launching the fleet of C-17s and dropping heavy equipment and Army paratroopers. Additionally, the training allowed for low-level tactical maneuvers and aerial refueling.


“This exercise helps us simulate and train for the global response force,” said Col. Jimmy Canlas, 437th AW commander. “It helps our ability to strategically project power anywhere in the world to meet our objectives.”


Teaming up with the Army, JB Charleston was able to successfully drop more than 200 paratroopers from the 509th Infantry Regiment into a designated drop zone in Fort Polk, La.


“Essentially in the C-17 world, we’re joined by nature with the Army, helping deploy them downrange,” said Canlas. “We sent six of our planes to drop paratroopers for this exercise.”


Planning and training to execute an exercise such as this took a lot of effort from multiple agencies to ensure everyone was proficient in the tasks required for a successful mission.


“It’s very intricate, it took a lot of training,” said Canlas. “Twelve hours a day, our training cell has been working scenarios and planning all the products required for the exercise.”


Although a lot of time and effort went into the coordination of the exercise, thanks to leadership and good planning, the exercise was prepped for and executed successfully.


“The coordination was simple,” said Capt. Michael Menna, 437th AW lead exercise planner. “At Charleston, we have leadership who support our vision and goals, helping us accomplish trainings and exercises like these.”


Agencies such as the airlift squadrons, the logistics readiness squadron, the maintenance squadrons, among others, all played a first-hand role in the exercise, which in turn helps their proficiency.


“Trainings like these really help us with our proficiency and capabalities,” said Staff Sgt. William Reed, 14th AS loadmaster. “It helps us see what would go on in the aircraft in a real-world situation.”


As the exercise ended, Canlas took pride in the fact that it was a team effort by all of JB Charleston.


“I’m very proud of our Airmen,” said Canlas. “We can’t do any of this without them. It’s incredible what they do to generate, load and launch these airplanes in such a timely manner.”