JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J –
Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing formed a Joint Task Force-Port Opening unit alongside Army and civilian partner agencies during Exercise Turbo Distribution 20-1 at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, Feb. 7-15.
Exercise Turbo Distribution 20-1 brought together approximately 200 Department of Defense personnel: Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Soldiers with the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element, and civilians from the Defense Logistics Agency Rapid Deployment Team to test their ability to rapidly respond to a multitude of simulated contingency situations. A JTF-PO is trained to rapidly respond and establish aerial port of debarkation capabilities to support humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and contingency response missions.
“It's not a blue operation, it's not a green operation,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jessica Guarini, JTF-PO Joint Operations Center director. “It's also not a civilian operation with DLA. It's a completely integrated operation that we have providing security for the airfield.”
During the mock deployment, the JTF-PO secured the airfield from any possible outside threat while maintaining 24/7 operations with 12-hour shifts, moving roughly 100 loads of simulated relief supplies and real-world cargo every day. The JTF-PO experienced a range of simulated crisis situations to overcome, including loss of crucial communications, protesters, propaganda attacks, and suspicious packages and activities.
“The word from (U.S. Transportation Command) going into it is we were going to get a difficult scenario and we were going to be challenged,” said Maj. Matthew Boatman, JTF-PO director of operations. “Through all of the challenges that we were being thrown, we still hit it out of the park. The whole basis of the team is you can trust the person next to you to accomplish their job and vice versa. It doesn’t work if you don’t have trust.”
The exercise was owned and coordinated through USTRANSCOM in order to facilitate training for the JTF-PO concept. Members of the joint team train regularly in this capacity to be prepared to respond to any situation in the world within a 12-hour notice to provide anything from humanitarian assistance disaster relief to contingency response in uncertain environments.
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center website.