Multiple C-130J Super Hercules crews from the 19th Airlift Wing from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas and 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas partnered with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for a Joint Forcible Entry exercise Nov. 3-6 at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina.
To ensure continued projection of the joint force and strategic deterrence, Exercise Panther Storm II allowed for these units to tackle Air Mobility Command’s priority of developing mobility Airmen and advancing warfighting capabilities.
Panther Storm is a joint training exercise between AMC and the 82nd Airborne Division which enables a brigade combat team to execute a joint forcible entry in support of subsequent large-scale combat operations.
“Our goal was to establish joint integration training between the 19th AW, 317th AW and the Army to exercise a large-force infiltration into a contested area,” said Capt. Shawn Riley, 40th Airlift Squadron, and Panther Storm II Mission Planning Cell chief. “Every opportunity to integrate and improve our capability to the joint force is a welcomed one.”
This training event validated the C-130 as the prime transport to rapidly project combat power by airdropping more than 1,660 personnel and 200,000 pounds of heavy air-dropped vehicles, equipment, ammunition and artillery into a simulated austere location.
“Our biggest challenge was making sure we were fully rigged and ready to perform varying types of airdrops,” said Staff Sgt. Micah Fernandez, 41st AS loadmaster. “With the sheer amount of drops we conducted in just two days, we tested our ability to deliver mobility requirements at the speed and scale required to defeat any adversary.”
In an ongoing effort to enhance tactics and interoperability, this exercise maximizes full-spectrum readiness to operate more quickly and with greater agility in and through contested environments for the nation to compete, deter and win.
“We took four aircraft from Little Rock AFB and combined it with eight from Dyess AFB, and executed our mission flawlessly,” said Maj. Chris Richardson, 61st AS pilot and Little Rock AFB crews’ mission commander. “We showed the world through this show of force that we could execute a large Joint Forcible Entry for the Army anywhere in the world whenever needed, no matter the constraints.”