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ANG leads airlift mission at Saber Junction 18

Missouri ANG leads airlift mission for Saber Junction 18

U.S. Army paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade board a U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, during Saber Junction 18, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Saber Junction 18 is the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade’s combat training center certification exercise, taking place on the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the brigade to conduct unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations. Saber Junction 18 includes nearly 5,500 participants from 20 ally and partner nations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Missouri ANG leads airlift mission for Saber Junction 18

U.S. Air Force Maj. Greg Hafley, a C-130 Hercules aircraft pilot assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, participates in a personnel drop during Saber Junction 18 above Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Saber Junction 18 is the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade’s combat training center certification exercise, taking place on the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the brigade to conduct unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations. Saber Junction 18 includes nearly 5,500 participants from 20 ally and partner nations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Missouri ANG leads airlift mission for Saber Junction 18

U.S. Army paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade board a U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, during Saber Junction 18, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 19, 2018. Saber Junction 18 is the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade’s combat training center certification exercise, taking place on the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the brigade to conduct unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations. Saber Junction 18 includes nearly 5,500 participants from 20 ally and partner nations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Missouri ANG leads airlift mission for Saber Junction 18

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Mays, a loadmaster assigned to the 180th Airlift Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, secures a RZR all-terrain vehicle in the back of a C-130H Hercules aircraft, during Saber Junctions 18, at the Grafenwoehr training area, Germany, Sept. 28, 2018. Saber Junction 18 is the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade’s combat training center certification exercise, taking place on the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the brigade to conduct unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations. Saber Junction 18 includes nearly 5,500 participants from 20 ally and partner nations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)]

Missouri ANG leads airlift mission for Saber Junction 18

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Arias Marcelo, foreground, a loadmaster assigned to the 180th Airlift Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, directs an Airmen with the 86th Airlift Wing, to back-up a RZR all-terrain vehicle into a C-130H Hercules aircraft, during Saber Junctions 18, at the Grafenwoehr training area, Germany, Sept. 28, 2018. Saber Junction 18 is the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade’s combat training center certification exercise, taking place on the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the brigade to conduct unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations. Saber Junction 18 includes nearly 5,500 participants from 20 ally and partner nations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Missouri ANG leads airlift mission for Saber Junction 18

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Amanda Gliise, a transportation specialist with the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard helps load cargo onto a C-130H Hercules aircraft prior to the execution of an air drop during Saber Junction 18 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 20, 2018. Saber Junction 18 is the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade’s combat training center certification exercise, taking place on the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. The U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise is designed to assess the readiness of the brigade to conduct unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations. Saber Junction 18 includes nearly 5,500 participants from 20 ally and partner nations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Members of the 139th Airlift Wing’s operation and maintenance groups traveled to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 12, 2018, to support the airlift portion of Saber Junction 18.

Saber Junction 18 is a large-scale, multinational combat certification exercise to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade to execute land operations in a joint, combined environment.

The 180th Airlift Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, was the lead unit for the airlift portion of Saber Junction.

“We don’t get to do a large formation like this very often”, said Lt. Col. Eric Rawlings, air mission commander. “When we can conduct something like this with 10 aircraft, there is a lot of enjoyment because we are doing what we have been trained to do.”

The Missouri unit joined the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing, and the U.S. Air Force Reserves 934th Airlift Wing.

Together, the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves conducted personnel airdrops with over 900 soldiers into the Hohenfels training area.

But the aircrew couldn’t do it alone. Maintenance airmen stayed busy to ensure the readiness of the aircraft.

“Our main priority is to keep the aircraft flying so operations can do their job to hit their target on time”, said 1st Lt. Joseph Nelson, maintenance officer.

Air Transportation airmen worked with soldiers to configure the planes to support paratroopers, as well as ensuring each plane is loaded and ready to go for each flight.

“We work together with the Army to keep our aircraft safe,” said Nelson.