News: 317th AG supports mass air mobility exercise
By Airman 1st Class Damon Kasberg
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Airmen from the 317th Airlift Group recently flew to Las Vegas, not for the bright lights and sights of Sin City, but to support the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Mobility Force Exercise, better known as MAFEX.
The exercise is part of a six-month Weapons Instructor Course conducted by the school. After graduating, weapons school students become Weapons Officers, serving as expert advisers to military leaders on the use of Air Force and sister service's capabilities in concert.
More than 100 aircraft from across the Air Force participated in MAFEX, including KC-135s, C-130Hs and Js, A-10s, C-17s and more. Not only does the exercise include a variety of aircraft, but a variety of personnel as well. Army Airborne and the Air Force's 820th Red Horse Squadron also played a role in the exercise.
"We got together and tried to bring the best of each of our different tactical platforms and planners in one room to teach each other how we operate and how we could best employ Air Force assets to help the war fighter," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Wald, U.S. Air Force Weapons School instructor.
The 317th AG supported MAFEX with five of its own C-130Js and 33 personnel from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The C-130J's simulated mission was a strategic brigade airdrop of army personnel in a contested and degraded environment.
"This type of drop places the Army in hostile enemy territory and allows them to expand the lodgement for future follow on missions," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicholas Redenius, 317th AG. "Think of it like the movie, 'We Were Soldiers.' We drop the guys in and they fight to expand their area of control, and then we land at an LZ dropping off more soldiers."
"It was the first MAFEX I'd been on," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Seth Schwesinger, 317th AG. "It's an awesome experience to be a part of, to see our component integrated in a large-scale exercise was eye opening."
The 317th aircrew members weren't the only personnel to fly to Nellis Air Force Base to support MAFEX. Airmen from the 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron ensured the C-130s would be ready for the exercise.
"Our role was to ensure the aircraft were ready to fly for the MAFEX exercise," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Montes, 317th AMXS. "When we landed, two of the aircraft were broken and we were able to troubleshoot, order parts and fix both aircraft without delaying their flights."
Not only is MAFEX a capstone project for the weapons school students, it also gives the Air Force mobility community a chance to come together and learn from each other.
"It was a blast to see how everyone can come together," said Airman 1st Class Rocky Menard, 40th Airlift Squadron. "We went out there with five crews from the fortieth, but we also got to be with a lot of people from Little Rock and Ramstein, to meet them and talk to them was interesting, and to get some insight about what they do at their bases and what's going on outside of Dyess Air Force Base."
Date Posted:06.05.2012 13:37
Location:DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, TX, US
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