Contingency response Airmen conduct exercise at Vandenberg
By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2014
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen from the 570th Contingency Response Group recently made a trip from Travis Air Force Base, California, to jointly conduct an Air Combat Operations Training Exercise led by the 60th Operations Group, also from Travis AFB, Sept. 15 through 17.
The 20-person team, comprised of Airmen from various career fields, aimed to effectively practice setting up an operational airfield in a deployed environment -- where resources may be scarce.
"We're demonstrating our capability to open up and operate airlift operations at an airfield," said Maj. Jeffrey Krulick, 570th Contingency Response Element commander. "We brought our command and control package, our air transportation experts, aerial porters and maintainers, all to be able to bring aircraft in and be able to get them out as quick as possible."
The CRG consists of Airmen with diverse backgrounds, in order to effectively accomplish a unique and dynamic mission at a moment's notice.
"We're charged with opening up a brand new airbase in the middle of nowhere, with minimal to no support," said Capt. Joshua Locke, 570th Contingency Response Element director of operations. "We can set up an operational airfield in an environment with no fuel, no planes, no vehicles, no buildings -- nothing. If we did it full-scale like that we would bring about 150 people from almost every career field in the Air Force. To set up everything from supply, to logistics, to maintenance, to airfield management everything that would be on a regular base."
Similar to any emergency responders, members of the CRG make a habit of routinely practicing for worst-case scenarios.
"Exercises like this are very important because when you're in a real-world situation you don't want to struggle getting everything set up," said Staff Sgt. David Morris, 570th Aerospace Ground Equipment mechanic. "We need to ensure everything runs as smooth as possible before we actually get tasked with a real situation. We never know where we may get sent, so it's important to conduct exercises in different locations like this. The wingman concept is big because we all come from very different career fields, and it's awesome to be able to get such a different perspective from the other career fields."
Remaining fiscally responsible, the team chose Vandenberg due to the close proximity to Travis as well as the willingness of Vandenberg's 30th Operations Support Squadron to support their training.
"It really helps us to be able to come down here with a small group to stay proficient," said Locke. "Vandenberg doesn't normally get a lot of aircraft because it's a space base but it enabled us to come in and utilize the capability that is already here as far as equipment. So, we ended up saving money by bringing minimal equipment and people while still conducting valuable training."
For those involved, the experience proved to be a pleasant one and members of the team hope to continue to utilize VAFB in the future.
"We were looking for areas close to Travis where we would be able to practice our mission," said Krulick. "The folks here have been great with supporting us and I really hope to continue our relationship."