News | March 22, 2016

DLA joins Air Force, Army to test skills in expeditionary logistics

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Hicks 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

With terror cells operating in the nation of Sengala, the DLA logistics personnel are on high alert as they exit the bus. Their partners, active-duty logisticians from the Air Force and the Army, don body armor and keep their rifles at the low-ready position.

Working together, they will turn a forlorn runway surrounded by dirt, shrubs and tumbleweeds into a fully operational port in less than 24 hours.

Although Sangala isn’t a real country — just a dusty stretch of an isolated Army airfield north of Reno — these logisticians’ skills are tested in real time, under real pressure, during Exercise Turbo Distribution/Joint Task Force Port Opening.

The latest such exercise, in mid-March, saw 10 DLA personnel join 125 airmen and 50 soldiers to test their skills in expeditionary logistics.

Turbo Distribution tests joint mobility operations and expeditionary combat support by providing a dynamic venue with scenarios to challenge participants on complex operations in a deployed environment. It uses U.S. Transportation Command's Joint Task Force-Port Opening mission set — combining Air Force's swift airbase opening capability and the Army's critical over-and cargo movement, tracking and distribution capability.

The airmen come from the 821st Contingency Response Group, 621st Contingency Response Wing along and soldiers from the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element.

"This training is unique," said Air Force Lt. Col. Blaine Baker, 921st Contingency Response Squadron director of operations and the TD 16-02 Joint Operations Command director.

"We want to take advantage of this opportunity and make sure our airmen are adequately trained and equipped to conduct JTF-PO operations and make sure USTRANSCOM has readily available forces to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment's notice."

Throughout the year, DLA, the Air Force and the Army participate in three JTF-PO exercises to keep their skills sharp and prepare them for alert requirements, but none more important than Turbo Distribution.

"Exercise Turbo Distribution is critical," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Chavis Wright, 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron small package initial communications element supervisor. "This is by far the most realistic training we go though and it gives us the opportunity to integrate and coordinate points of difficulties with our counterparts, making it easier to complete the mission when we are called upon."

On their initial arrival March 15 to their "redeployment" on March 18 everyone taking part in the exercise is expected to learn something, TD officials said.

"Our goal for the exercise is to have every single airman, soldier and DLA official confident enough to perform their job and take part in a real-world JTF-PO anywhere across the globe at any time," Baker said.

The JTF-PO specializes in rapidly establishing hubs for cargo distribution operations worldwide, to include remote or damaged locations, on short notice. Previous deployments include humanitarian assistance support missions to Haiti, Pakistan and Japan, and contingency deployments in support of military operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America.