FORT STEWART, Ga. —
The 315th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, provided the first ever C-17 Globemaster III support to Wright Army Airfield for an Army Expeditionary Deployment Readiness Exercise May 14, 2019, at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The 300th Airlift Squadron from JB Charleston provided aerial support to the 414th Signal Company’s Tactical Communication Squadron from Fort Stewart. The EDRE helps to prepare military members to tactfully and efficiently deploy within hours.
“The Joint Chiefs of Staff’s number one priority is readiness and when the jet engines are turned on we need to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice,” said Army Capt. Tyran Askew, commander of the 414 SC.
Readiness was apparent as this joint exercise provided first-hand experience to the Soldiers, who had never worked hand-in-hand with a C-17 or airlift crew, as they swiftly loaded rolling stock, gear, equipment and passengers.
“Training missions like these allow other branches to operate as a joint task force with resources they wouldn’t normally have available,” said Senior Airman Branden Burkhart, loadmaster with the 300 AS.
A resource such as the C-17 is an excellent asset in providing readiness training due to its maximum payload capacity being 170,900 pounds, with a maximum gross takeoff weight of 585,000 pounds.
The design of the aircraft (high-lift wing, slats and externally blown flaps) allows it to operate in and out of small, austere airfields.
Furthermore, the C-17 can take off and land on runways as short as 3,500 feet and only 90 feet wide. Even on such narrow runways, the C-17 can turn around using a three-point star turn and its backing capability. This proves essential flexibility for any rapid deployment exercise, such as this EDRE.
“With the C-17 being so flexible, we are able to extend our missions to cover a variety of tasks,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Bonilla, loadmaster with the 300 AS. “That keeps us relevant by enabling us to assist in a variety of situations across military branches.”
After loading approximately 50,000 pounds of cargo and completing an engines running offload at Wright AAF, the jet returned to Charleston with its training mission accomplished.
“This is what being ready is all about. It’s proof that our joint force has the expert training required to mobilize when duty calls, “ said Lt. Col. Joshua LaMotte, deputy commander of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade of Fort Stewart.
Following the EDRE, Soldiers and Airmen alike were confident and mobilization ready.
“I love this EDRE,” said Pfc. DeAngelo Coutu, signal systems support specialist, 414 SC, “because we could deploy tomorrow and now we are ready for anything.”