123rd CRG completes successful U.S. TRANSCOM training mission with U.S. Army

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vicky Spesard,
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

More than 100 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group joined approximately 50 Soldiers the U.S. Army’s 690th Rapid Port Opening Element to participate in Operation Lone Oak, a U.S. Transportation Command Turbo Distribution exercise held here June 7-12.

The exercise was designed to test the rapid-assessment and airfield-opening capabilities of contingency forces and establish a Joint Task Force-Port Opening, which is a complete air logistics hub and surface distribution network.

Airmen were responsible for establishing an Aerial Port of Debarkation, which received and staged cargo arriving by airlift. The Soldiers simultaneously established a ground transportation network, shuttling cargo away from the airfield to a forward node for onward movement by external agencies.

Although the APOD and the forward node were established in geographically separate areas and in a notionally semi-permissive environment, the operation ran smoothly thanks to seamless cooperation between the two military elements, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Adams, JTF-PO commander for the exercise.

“It was amazing to see how our folks combined with the Army and came together as one joint team to do the job we did for this exercise,” Adams said. “We faced extreme heat conditions and a severe weather event on the flight line that suspended the exercise for a short time, in addition to the normal challenges posed by an experienced exercise control group, yet our Airmen and Soldiers never stopped working and helping each other out. It was a tremendous effort by everyone.”

A JFT-PO is designed to deploy to austere areas that lack facilities or forces to safely and effectively distribute cargo and supplies to end users, or to move relief supplies into areas affected by catastrophic events such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes.

JTF-POs deploy with everything needed to establish cargo operations, from power production, communications gear and material-handling equipment to aircraft mechanics, security forces and civil engineers. Once a JTF-PO is fully established, the mission is handed off to replacement forces that will constitute a longer-term distribution operation.