4th EAS provides airlift capabilities during Exercise Rainier War 23A

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Zoe Thacker
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Exercise Rainier War 23A kicked off this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and dozens of aircrew boots hit the ground running to participate and evaluate the Wing’s ability to generate, employ and sustain in-garrison and forward deployed forces, ensuring strategic advantage by advancing warfighting capabilities.

The 4th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron provided the aircrew for C-17A Globemaster III aircraft assigned to the 62d Airlift Wing. The team simulated taking to the Pacific Northwest skies in order to certify their Airmen on the Mission Generation Force Element (MGFE) capabilities under the U.S. Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) deployment model.

“The (MGFE) is pivotal to how the 4th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron moves forward as we evolve from the traditional major hub focus to a dispersed operation capable of adapting to emerging threats or needs of the United States and our allies,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Brandon Mercer, lead exercise planner with the 4th EAS. “The 4th EAS has been providing U.S. Transportation Command and combatant commanders strategic and tactical airlift for nearly 90 years, and the evolution of force element only make the squadron more agile, shifting demands in peacetime and combat operations.”

Aircrew with the 4th EAS trained this week with U.S. Army soldiers with the 555th Engineer Brigade on joint operations cargo upload; uploading heavy military armored vehicles onto a C-17 and securing them in the cargo area. In addition to cargo upload, the 4th EAS is also accomplishing missions with night vision goggles, training on specialized fueling operations and practicing being able to deploy at a moment’s notice.

“We are hoping the 144 members for the Fightin’ Fourth (4th EAS) can walk away from Rainier War 23A with a better understanding of the dynamic nature of Agile Combat Employment,” said Capt. Brent Johnson, deputy lead exercise planner with the 4th EAS. “Crews will operate in and out of semi-prepared runways, work directly with joint base partners to demonstrate Mobility’s role in deploying lethal expeditionary strike packages and flying over 65 hours with combat air force partners, honing our ability to operate in highly contested environments.”

Exercises like Rainier War 23A continue to push the boundaries of what was historically practiced by Air Mobility Command Airmen, aircraft and weapons systems in order to find solutions for current and immerging threats.

“Exercises are key pieces for aircrew to step back from traditional strategic airlift and support missions to focus on advanced employment of the C-17A in austere and contested environments,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Ober, 4th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander. “The 4th EAS has developed, planned and executed their portion of Rainier War entirely organically while maintaining the highest level of combat readiness and covering surges in mission tasking levels.”

As the Mobility Warfighters of Team McChord and joint force counterparts continue to practice as they play, they work toward ensuring capabilities in providing lethal Airmen and reliable airlift capability to U.S. forces and allies across the world.

“Members of the 4th EAS will employ a vast majority of core and non-standard competencies demonstrating that we can--on a moment’s notice--be called upon to deploy and operate anywhere in the world,” said Capt. Garrett Matney, chief of tactics with the 4th EAS. “At the culmination of the exercise, the 4th Airlift Squadron will have proven, yet again, why we are America’s airlift squadron of choice since 1935.”