Exercise Northern Edge 2019 logistical team ensures success

Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
Story by Airman 1st Class Caitlin Russell

Date: 05.20.2019
Posted: 05.20.2019 19:33
News ID: 323181
Exercise Northern Edge kicks off at JBER

Within Northern Edge 2019 (NE19) there is a small group of Airmen dedicated to coordinating and executing the extensive logistics needed for an exercise of this scale.

The exercise, which involves more than 200 various aircraft, 10,000 personnel and 11 vessels, is Alaska’s premier joint training exercise designed to practice operations, techniques and procedures, as well as enhance interoperability among services.

“The logistical mission for Northern Edge goes way beyond moving aircraft and personnel,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Angela Warren, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces logistics, engineering, and force protection staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. “Everything involved to make a movement, we coordinate. We make sure that everyone else has what they need to do the flying mission.”

The NE19 logistics team organized and prepared for the arrival of aircraft, personnel and cargo for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Allen Army Airfield and Eielson Air Force Base, all located in Alaska. Preparation for their arrival included allocating vehicles, lodging and food for personnel coordination of fuel, transportation and equipment and flightline space for aircraft.

The NE19 logistics team spent more than six months laying out the ground work to guarantee mission success and encountered several challenges along the way such as translating acronyms and terminology between branches.

“With personnel from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, ensuring clear communication meant constantly asking questions,” Warren said. “These questions were necessary to ask, because without our team the exercise wouldn’t be able to happen. If we didn’t clarify, it would make an impact on the mission and increase communication mishaps.”
While a seemingly small aspect, maintaining open conversations is what keeps aircraft in the sky and operations continuing smoothly.

The team was also responsible for the coordination of fuel, transportation and equipment.

“The biggest thing about this exercise is that we want to be able to keep the planes up in the air,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Groce, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of ground transportation, Kadena Air Force Base, Japan. “Because of the support that we received from other units, we’re able to operate with a four-person team.

“Throughout the exercise, our team has worked around the clock to make things happen at the strategic and tactical level. The biggest concern is ensuring that our team has a strong relationship with other exercise partners, such as the Marines and Navy. Everyone has been very flexible and helpful."

With communication established and exercise operations in motion, the NE19 logistics team looks to the next phase of their mission.

“Each day is filled with different tasks and responsibilities,” Warren said. “Now that we’re past the first week, we’ll be focusing on the redeployment part of the exercise. As soon as you get everything onto the ground and working, the next step is to get it back home.”