19th AW kicks off Gnarly Explodeo

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing kicked off the Gnarly Explodeo readiness exercise at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 31, 2024.

The goal of this Air Mobility Command-directed exercise is to ensure the base’s readiness for immediate deployment, emphasizing the speed and precision with which 19th AW forces can be projected to where they are needed most.

During this exercise, the 19th AW executed the Rocket Launch Playbook, a supplement to the base’s Installation Deployment Plan that provides a means for the wing to rapidly deploy eight of its C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in an extremely accelerated timeline to enable the Joint Force scheme of maneuver.

“Explodeo showcases our Black Knights’ incredible agility and readiness capabilities to project TacAir Anywhere,” said Col. Denny Davies, the 19th AW and installation commander. “Through exercises like this, we continue to sharpen our expeditionary mindset and reinforce our role as a vital component of the Joint Force.”

Explodeo tested critical pre-deployment processes across the installation and stressed the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s processing of personnel and cargo at an accelerated pace.

During the exercise, Airmen from the 19th AW and 913th Airlift Group were processed through a simulated Personnel Deployment Function line which ensured they received important agency briefs and were equipped with proper gear and other necessary deployment documentation.

Following the PDF line, two C-130J Super Hercules from the 41st Airlift Squadron took off to conduct a roughly 30-hour single-aircraft maximum endurance mission demonstrating multi-day mission generation capabilities while only landing to refuel.

Additionally, Explodeo allowed the 19th AW to hone their skills on C-130 Hot-Integrated Combat Turns, focusing on a minimum turnaround of aircraft and recovery launch times through simultaneous fueling and loading/unloading of cargo, aircraft reconfiguration and other servicing with all engines running.

By showcasing the ability to operate at extended ranges, the exercise highlights the wing’s readiness and flexibility in responding to contingencies and challenges across the globe. The rapid deployment not only tested our operational effectiveness but also reinforced the wing’s role in supporting strategic objectives to meet the demands of the changing threat environment.