19th AW, 913th AG exercise integration, prepare for deployment

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jayden Ford
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 41st Airlift Squadron, along with members of the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 19th Operations Support Squadron, and 913th Airlift Group, recently completed a 10-day off-station training event at Stennis International Airport, Mississippi, Feb. 8-18, in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

During the OST, Airmen loaded multiple pieces of challenging cargo, such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, completed airdrops, and transported Airmen and cargo from the 621st Contingency Response Group.

Capt. Nick Gibson, the 41th AS OST chief of tactics, said that this training event provided Airmen a venue to challenge and execute impeccable fundamentals in their tasks before deploying. 

“What we want to do is prepare our crews in a controlled training environment by giving them challenging profiles and pieces of cargo, pushing them to explore what they can and can't do with the Block 8.1 aircraft,” Gibson said. “Getting that familiarity, exposure, and teamwork in now better prepares us for whatever challenges we may face downrange, regardless of location.”

In addition to challenging the crews with unique cargo, loadmasters and pilots worked hand-in-hand to load cargo – enhancing crew resource management and enabling smaller crews to be more effective.

“We're always planning and thinking of how we can manage our time and resources more efficiently,” said Tech. Sgt. Luke Tucciarone, 41st AS OST mission planner. “If we are all working together, it helps us to become more efficient and lethal, because every person feels included, valued, and can bring their full selves to the fight.”

When planning the OST, the 41st AS incorporated Airmen from the 19th AMXS and OSS, as well as Reserve Airmen from the 327th Airlift Squadron, to strengthen interoperability and team cohesion prior to deploying together.

“At home station, we've got a lot of support from logistics, maintenance, and operations, but we're not going to have that everywhere we go,” Gibson said. “Having everyone train together supports the Multi-Capable Airmen concept, allowing us to learn from one another, and to be able to operate seamlessly in contested or degraded operational environments.

Working day and night, Airmen put in countless hours ensuring the training offered deliberate development for every member.

“I'm proud of the Airmen that came down here and kept a mission-first mentality, with an ‘all hands on deck approach’” Tucciarone said. “It was good to see Airmen staying at the plane even though they weren’t flying; it was all hands on deck. That's really exciting about these OST’s is that it's less about who's supposed to be doing it and more about how we're going to get it done.”