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NEWS | Jan. 29, 2024

JB Charleston demonstrates readiness, rapid response during Explodeo

628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston pushed its readiness and rapid response capabilities Jan. 22-24 during a high-profile exercise dubbed “Explodeo.”

The Air Mobility Command-directed exercise tested the base's proficiency in mobilizing forces and cargo quickly, with a strong emphasis on logistics and flexibility.

The exercise began with a short-notice deployment scenario and culminated with the launch of 12 C-17 Globemaster IIIs to accomplish joint training at five locations across the country. 

"Explodeo is a critical test of our ability to respond rapidly in a changing world,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Sam Todd, 437th Airlift Wing commander. “It's about ensuring we're not just ready, but able to project our power quickly and efficiently."

The exercise involved both the 437th AW and the 628th Air Base Wing expediting aircrew and support personnel, as well as their equipment, through the deployment process at an accelerated pace to identify both strengths and weaknesses.

“Through this exercise we are practicing and showing we can expedite the process to get wherever we need to in the world within 24 hours,” said Capt. Alexander LeBlanc, lead exercise planner and 437th Operations Support Squadron chief of wing weapons and tactics.

Explodeo stressed the pre-deployment and logistics processes across the Air Base, demanding four times the throughput of cargo compared to steady state operations. The 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 437th Aerial Port Squadron played crucial roles in the processing of personnel and cargo.

Explodeo implemented a ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach, building on isolated training events from previous years to challenge and improve the installation’s deployment plan. This strategy ensured that every aspect of the operation, from the initial planning stages to the final execution, was carried out with precision and efficiency.

“I am immensely proud of the performance and dedication displayed by our team during Explodeo,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Freeman, JB Charleston and 628th ABW commander. “This exercise showed that Joint Base Charleston is ready to meet our nations call in short order.”