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JBLM crews perform HI-RAIN live fire

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Following months of planning, Airmen and Soldiers completed JBLM's first joint live-fire M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems Rapid Infiltration (HI-RAIN) exercise, Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, in Schoonover, Calif.

During the weeklong exercise, six McChord C-17 Globemaster III aircraft transported 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and more than 100 personnel from the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment to Schoonover. Once on the ground, crews immediately went into action to unload the HIMARS vehicles and drive them to their designated firing point.

"These exercises expand our capabilities and prepare us to deploy in real world scenarios," said Army Staff Sgt. Gilbert Wood, Alpha Battery, 5-3 FA Bn., 17th Fires Brigade section chief.

Planning, which began months prior to the exercise, consisted of joint concept briefings to coordinate and plan the timeline for the exercise.

"The prep work, static load training and dry runs that take place before each mission are essential to the success of the exercise," Said Army Capt. Earl Dean, 62nd Operations Group ground liaison officer.

Prior to the exercise, HIMARS crews worked alongside 62nd Aerial Port Squadron Airmen, practicing and planning the loading of the HIMARS onto C-17s. Loadmasters and pilots calculated figures for each flight's payload to ensure necessary safety requirements were met, and plotted flight plans within the exercise's set timelines.

During the planning period, aircrews also took into consideration the environmental factors of Schoonover's dirt runway, which required taking into effect semi-prepared runway operations (SPRO).

"Everything has to be taken into consideration on an exercise like this," Staff Sgt. Liam McPhail, 10th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "The time constraints to do everything within the set timeline and to assist the pilots on SPRO are challenging and crucial tasks. It's kind of a big deal to be able to land on a dirt strip and fire live rockets from HIMARS immediately after landing,"

Following each HIMARS launch, crews quickly reloaded the vehicles back onto the aircraft for immediate departure for the return trip to McChord Field.

To more effectively utilize Army and Air Force assets while providing quality training, it is important to continue to integrate joint training, said Capt. Evan McLaughlin, air mobility liaison officer. As a result of exercises like HI-RAIN, JBLM units are developing tactics and techniques and procedures for future missions.

"This is a simple and sustainable program that provides real world combat training to Airmen and soldiers of JBLM, while building stronger relationships," said McLaughlin.