News: Contingency Response Wing supports Latin America presidential visit
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing here deployed to South and Central America to support President Obama's visit to the region, March 19-23.
The 35 airmen, tasked on four separate Contingency Response Teams, expanded capability at airfields in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Santiago, Chile, and San Salvador, El Salvador in support of air mobility requirements for presidential personnel and cargo.
The four teams departed Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst aboard two C-17 Globemaster IIIs, headed for their southern destinations. After a more than nine-hour flight, crews immediately began operations.
"We hit the ground running," said Tech. Sgt. John W. Rickenbach, the team chief at Galeao Air Base, Brazil, and a CRT chief with the 818th Global Mobility Squadron. "From the moment we arrived, we went to work integrating with the host base and setting up our operations to start receiving aircraft."
The CRTs deployed with air mobility personnel specializing in air transportation, command and control, communications, and airfield operations. Each team was led by an enlisted aviator who worked alongside host nation military and civilian airfield personnel to execute the special assignment airlift missions.
"We had a good relationship with the Brazilian military, the Air Mobility Command station coordinator and consulate officials," said Sergeant Rickenbach. "There were some challenges but we worked through them and came together as one team to make the mission happen."
During the mission, the CRT moved tons of presidential cargo and multiple personnel in and out of the four locations. They managed essential on-load, offload and en-route aircraft mission support for the military's highest priority assignment.
"An event of this magnitude could not be possible without the Contingency Response Team," said Col. Jose A. Sanchez, officer in charge of U.S. Southern Command's Joint Task Force for the presidential mission and director of plans for 12th Air Force. "The CRTs arrived first, operating autonomously until the command and control element arrived. They quickly built strong relationships with the various local U.S. authorities, host nation governments and military agencies allowing for the smooth flow of cargo."
The logistics of moving the president throughout the region during his tour was no small feat. Everything from Marine One to the trucks that refueled Air Force One arrived on C-17s and was processed by members of the CRW. For some members of the unit, it was their first real world mission.
"This was my first operation, and I learned a lot about the movement of the president," said Airman 1st Class Kolt M. Putnam, an air transportation apprentice with the 818th GMS. "I got to put into practice what I learned during my upgrade training. I used my qualification on the 10K all-terrain forklift to offload and up-load aircraft and assist other military units on the ground."
The 621st CRW is one of only two Contingency Response Wings in the Air Force and is prepared to deploy at a moment's notice. CRWs boast a unique skill set combined with a light and agile footprint which makes them the perfect solution for a mission of this scale.
"Having a CRT here, we have a team that is ready, capable, and accustomed to working together under the leadership of superb non-commissioned officers," said Sanchez. "It is obvious, by observing the speed and ease with which they handle cargo and unexpected problems, that contingency response Airmen are ready to execute their mission, anytime and anywhere. They were the first in and last out. The CRTs made this mission a success."
Date Posted:04.13.2011 14:45
Location:JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ, US
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