Gathering in the Swamp > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article

Members of the 815th Airlift Squadron, an Air Force Reserve unit at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, delivered cargo, personnel and provided air support for Rally in the Swamp June 7-9, 2022.

This year, the 22nd Air Force exercise, Rally in the Swamp, was held in Florida to test Citizen Reserve Airmen on agile combat support by challenging them with realistic scenarios that take into supports a full range of operations.

While crews are given a scenario to plan, they only get the full mission on the day and have to come up with a plan with little information, to give them a more realistic picture of what would happen during military actions. , operations or in a hostile environment.

“This exercise gave our aircraft commanders the opportunity to come up with a good solid plan and back-up plan to complete the mission,” said 815th Airlift Squadron pilot Capt. Ryan Rivera. “It was a very good training tool, especially for a co-driver, to be able to know why things are happening and how the planning works.”

Part of this planning had to take into account the communication aspects of the aircraft, but not in the sense of talking through the radio. It was in terms of navigation, because while the three units present were all flying C-130s, they were all flying three different versions of the C-130.

Air Force Reserve units, the 327th Airlift Squadron, from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., and the 815th AS, flew Model Js, but with two different navigation system upgrades and the 700th Airlift Squadron, out of Dobbins Air Reserve. Base, Georgia flew the Model H, which relies on a different navigation system operated by an actual navigator, as well as different data link capabilities and load plane capabilities.

“The two J-model C-130’s navigation system flies over routes and sets airdrops different from each other, then the H-model has a navigator to control run-ins for an airdrop,” said Captain Michael Plash. , Aircraft Commander of the 815th AS. “The three planes are doing the exact same mission, but they’re all doing different things to make it work, which had to be factored into the planning.”

This planning included conducting airdrops of container delivery systems, which can be used to deliver items such as food, water, fuel or other necessary items.

Part of the exercise included dropping a large amount of CDS into a circular drop zone versus a normal rectangular drop zone, Rivera said.

“A circular DZ allows aircraft to approach from any direction but may require more detailed planning than traditional rectangular DZs,” he said. “The detailed measurements allow the airdrop to land more precisely where requested by ground controllers.”

When it comes to drop zones, one area the 815th AS does not normally practice at Keesler is conducting water drops.

“As a new co-pilot, it was a great training opportunity,” said 1st. Lieutenant James Zock, pilot of the 815th AS. “Doing the drop of water was new to me.”

During this part of the exercise, the units practiced performing search and rescue over water and performing a rescue kit drop at sea.

The search and rescue part included having a “survivor” in the water using a colored dye pack to highlight the water and a signal mirror to reflect sunlight to attract the attention of the pilots in order to be spotted while he was “lost” at sea.

“Seeing the signal mirror drew attention,” 1st said. Lieutenant James Zock, pilot of the 815th AS. “I didn’t see the color of the water very well, until I saw the mirror.”

Once a survivor is located, their latitude and longitude are marked and the on-scene commander in charge of the search is notified. Then the crew will drop a sea rescue kit upwind of the survivor, where it will float in a U shape and wrap around the person, this way the person can reach the items to survive until she be rescued.

“A basic sea kit depends on which agency drops them,” Tech said. sergeant. Ronald Patton, 403rd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment craftsman. “But in general, the kit can include water and a water purification system, some type of signaling device, a radio of some kind, as well as a raft repair kit and possibly a medical module to use. until help arrives.”

Another formation included agile support for a fighter unit by providing airlift to maintenance and security force units to perform an integrated combat turnaround.

“Put simply, we collected their officials, equipment and some security force personnel, transported them to a simulated austere location, and then waited for the fighters to arrive to be rearmed, re-equipped and refueled, which who tested them for ICT,” says Plash.

The 815th AS also participated in wet wing refueling, which is used to quickly transfer fuel from one aircraft to another at forward operating bases where they do not have an established fuel storage facility. . The aircraft lands, keeps the engines running, and ground crews on site transfer fuel from the wing to a fuel tanker. The tanker then transfers this fuel to another aircraft.

“Overall, the exercise is really good for younger kids and can really help hone some of the skills and knowledge for those who have had some experience,” Rivera said.

Comments are closed.