March supports Joint Operations Access Exercise

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U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher

The 452nd Air Mobility Wing’s support for JOAX 2015 (DRAGON SPEAR), a Joint Operations Access Exercise for airfield interdiction, began August 3 and concludes today. As a hub for JOAX 2015 operations, March provided sites for Army troops to live and operate during the week-long exercise, which allowed Army personnel to conduct the emergency deployment readiness exercise in support of ground commanders at Fort Irwin, California.

“(Operation) Dragon Spear was an excellent opportunity to coordinate efforts as a global fighting force,” said Lt. Col Steve Priest, 452nd Airlift Control Flight commander.

Paratroopers from Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., arrived Tuesday night to support the operation with four OH-58s Kiowa helicopters and a ground support staff, to provide armed reconnaissance after airfield seizure, as part of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Joint Forcible Entry Exercise at Fort Irwin.

The 82nd Sustainment Brigade, Fort Bragg, built and operated mess facilities on base for exercise participants. The sustainment brigade is a flexible, modular headquarters organization capable of conducting multiple missions, and is a key organization in linking sustainment support from the operational to tactical levels.

“We are so appreciative of the support we’ve received,” said LTC David Vandevander, battalion commander, 82nd Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division. “The interoperability between Air (Force) and Army has been seamless.”

The 621st Contingency Response Support Squadron (West Coast office), Travis Air Force Base, California, participated as well. The CRSS mission is to deploy contingency response forces to locations where the en-route support for Air Mobility Command’s global air mobility operations is insufficient or nonexistent. In garrison, each CRSS manages and maintains the wing’s assigned equipment as well as facilitating training for and equipping 621st Contingency Response Wing-assigned personnel.

The Bob Hope USO from Ontario International Airport, Ontario, California, provided an area on base for participating troops to get some rest and refreshments, just like they do real-world, as well as relief from the heat.