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NEWS | March 1, 2021

Army conducts IRF training at Joint Base Charleston

By Senior Airman Allison Payne 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., conducted Immediate Response Force training at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., from Jan. 18 - 20 and Jan. 26 - Feb. 3, 2021.

The IRF is a rapid reaction force jointly maintained by the United States Army and United States Air Force. The purpose of the IRF movement at Joint Base Charleston was to project ready forces, available to deploy at any given moment. Approximately 4,000 Soldiers and Airmen participated in the training.

“These joint operations are critically important,” said Lt. Col. Matt Cherry, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “This is because the defense of our nation relies on all services coming together to accomplish the strategic objectives set out by our senior leaders and elected officials.”

The intent of the training was to leverage ground and air mobility to cultivate a joint environment at home for greater strength abroad. Another goal was to validate Joint Base Charleston’s ability to perform as a strategic power projection platform for its Joint partners. Additionally, the training showcased that Joint Base Charleston, as an air base wing and a multi-domain installation, is always ready to deliver the Air Force’s requirements and execute the needs of our nation alongside the Joint Force.

“Joint operations like this are important because many Airmen, both enlisted and officer, don’t get to experience working with the other services,” said Capt. Paul Adeji Paul, 437th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer. “For me, I truly didn’t understand how air power strengthens the United States military’s might until working in a joint environment.”

The IRF is built around a Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division. A rotating battalion of the brigade, along with the Air Force Air Mobility Command assets, is kept at a high alert level to allow it to undertake an airborne deployment on 18 hours-notice with no prior warning.

“The IRF is a national military force assignable by the president of the United States,” said Cherry. “It’s comprised of over 4,000 soldiers and associated equipment that can perform Joint Forcible Entry airfield seizure operations and follow-on air and land support activities.”

The IRF’s first emergency deployment occurred in Jan. 2020 and consisted of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division plus supporting Air Force assets.

“Numerous agencies were involved in this movement,” said Cherry. “Every single squadron from the 628th Air Base Wing and 437th Airlift Wing were involved in the planning and execution of the exercise. Certain wing staff agencies such as wing safety, public affairs and plans and programs were also involved. In addition, Navy Munitions Command, the 841st Transportation Battalion and the Army Field Support Battalion-Charleston were also involved in the planning.”

To ensure the training was as realistic as possible, the base was converted to a mission essential posture for the duration of the exercises. Mission essential personnel is defined as those who are directly supporting the exercise or conducting flying operations. All other personnel were required to telework.

“I think training opportunities like this instill confidence and pride in our Airmen that they can execute more than just their day-to-day demand,” said Adeji-Paul. “Many of the situations presented during this exercise called for an Airmen to perform his or her primary function in a different setting, on or with different equipment, and for a different type of user. In all scenarios, Team Charleston Airmen proved they’re ready for anything.”