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JBLE Soldiers, Airmen load up on deployment readiness

By Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal and Capt. Derrick A. Dixon | 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs and 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) | Oct. 23, 2018

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 733rd Logistics Readiness Squadron participated in a joint training exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Oct. 15-21, 2018.

Soldiers from Fort Story, Fort Lee and Fort Eustis participated in pre-deployment operations training, which included arrival and departure air field control group operations at Langley Air Force Base and rail load and sling load training at Fort Eustis.

Members from Fort Story’s 119th Inland Cargo Transfer Company analyzed each unit’s ability to execute air deployment procedures.

Soldiers from the battalion conducted a joint inspection with the 733rd Logistics Readiness Squadron prior to staging on the flight line. After the load was checked, Soldiers loaded their equipment on a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, 9th Airlift Squadron.

“The training is very realistic because we have a real aircraft on the ground,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Makayla Rose, 119th ICTC, 11th Bn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) 2nd Platoon leader and officer in charge of the training. “We are going through all the requirements as if we were going through a deployment through the small air terminal at Langley.”

According to Rose, the participating units typically partake in simulated training and she believes this exercise was particularly impactful because the physical learning environment enabled Soldiers to fully grasp practices and procedures which will help them in the future when they are tasked with a real world mission and assist with building a stronger relationship between the Army and Air Force.

For sling load operations, personnel connect equipment to the bottom of a helicopter, adding the capability of moving equipment ship-to-shore. The training was set up to allow the unit to become proficient in ship-to-shore movement of cargo and equipment and improve the unit’s Logistic Over the Shore capabilities.

“The training perfects the ship-to-shore capability,” said 1st Lt. Carlos Botero, 11th Trans. Bn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) plans officer. “Soldiers get hands-on training which improves familiarity.”

Soldiers from the 119th ICTC conducted the rail loading operation site as companies within the battalion were tasked to upload and download six pieces of equipment on the railcar at Hanks Yard at Fort Eustis. Earlier in the year, Soldiers went to Fort Erwin, California for training to become certified in rail load operations.

“We haven’t done a lot of rail load training, which leaves a gap,” Staff Sgt. Ethan Severance, 119th ICTC, 11th Bn., transportation management coordinator and NCO in charge of the training. “Not a lot of Soldiers get a chance to conduct the training. The training fills in that gap and is a great opportunity for the Soldiers and the unit as a whole.”

The Soldiers at the rail load training were in charge of driving the vehicles on the railcars, tying the vehicles to the railcar and eventually unloading the car.

“The training is a remarkable opportunity, add to that working with sister services, and it brings the training to another level,” said Lt. Col. Damien Boffardi, 11th Trans. Bn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) commander. “Being able to go and do allows us to identify strengths, and where and what we need to build on.  It also brings awareness, a level of understanding, and allows Soldiers to become experts in their craft.”

The training will conclude with a two-week field training exercise to prepare Soldiers within the battalion for future deployments.

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