ANG leads airlift mission at Saber Junction 18
By Capt. Rhonda Brown, 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published October 11, 2018
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.