57th WPS conducts large weapons exercise
Posted 6/1/2007 Updated 6/1/2007 Email story Print story
by Airman 1st Class Tamika Edwards
305th Mission Support Group
6/1/2007 - MCGUIRE AFB, N.J. -- In order to excel as an aircrew member, one has to train. Each year the 57th Weapons Squadron, C-17 Weapons Instructor Course located at McGuire, along with other WICs around the Air Force, conduct two classes, which span six months and who only accept a total of six C-17 instructors per classroom from Air Mobility Command and PACAF wings into the course. The six students are put through the rigorous C-17 WIC syllabus.
"Think of it as a master's-level or Ph.D.-level course in tactical employment, which includes taking off and landing in deployed locations such as Iraq," said Maj. Jimmy Fuller, 57 WPS instructor.
The students are now in the Composite Force Operation Phase of the course; this is where the Mobility Forces Exercise is planned and executed after supervision and guidance from Major Fuller and the rest of the 57th WPS cadre.
The purpose of MAFEX is to plan, execute and analyze the forced entry concept of Strategic Brigade Airdrop. Some of it's goals include in-depth area analysis of a large drop zone, large formation operations, heavy equipment and personnel air drop thus resulting in an effective follow-on air land operations.
"It took three months of careful planning to put together a guide which served as a mock mission for the six 57 WPS and eight 29 WPS students," said Major Fuller. This year, the students of the 57 WPS School teamed up with their counterparts from the C-130 WIC from Little Rock AFB.
"As a result of all the support from C-17 Wings Air Force-wide, MAFEX has grown tremendously," said Major Fuller. This year, seven bases to include McGuire, Charleston, McCord, Travis, Altus, Hickman and March participated.
The mission included 27 C-17s and 20 C-130s, which along with other aircraft were flown in two large formations. All of the planes met up in southwest Texas at Biggs Army Air Field and conducted the mock drop of troops and equipment and then dirt landings at Wilde Benton Drop Zone.
"I worked with a whole bunch of individuals who made my job easy," said Capt. Scott Raleigh, 57 WPS mission planning cell chief student, who is stationed at Hickman AFB. "I got to set the vision of the other students who do the difficult part." It took approximately three days of planning from May 9-11 at the 57 WPS.
"They had a good, safe plan for me to execute," said Capt. Cassius Bentley, mission commander student of the C-17 formation, who is stationed at Charleston AFB. "I was responsible for the execution phase of the mission; after the plan was in place, I took it and executed. It was tough, but it went well."
"We have the most highly-trained aircrews across AMC and PACAF who participated in this mission," said Lt. Col. Johnny Roscoe, 57 WPS commander. "It went well because it was planned well."