Airmen help 'Hamilton's Own' get equipment to Yuma Proving Ground
January 14, 2014
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and Airmen from the 22nd Airlift Squadron, 60th Air Mobility Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., conducted a joint Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise on Jan. 9 at Forbes Field. "Hamilton's Own" Soldiers partnered with a C-5 Galaxy crew to load and secure two tactical vehicles in support of the battalion's training mission from Jan. 14 to Feb. 8 at Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz.
Service members worked together to load a M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle and a M1075 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.
The loading and eventual take off of the aircraft was just a small part of the EDRE, which began Jan. 3 for the battalion.
EDREs are designed to train Soldiers on the practices of rapid deployments. There are three levels, each building on the level beneath it. Level one focuses on administrative practices and training, level two on loading and level three departing a location, Maj. Charles Ausman, a transportation officer for the 1st Inf. Div., said.
The benefits of this type of training are enhancing the wide variety of skills imperative to continuing and improving a unit's readiness, Ausman said.
"Soldiers get training in air-load planning, hazardous material certification and convoy operations, and they get familiarized with Air Force equipment and aircraft," Ausman said.
The EDRE was a success for the 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., proving its readiness to the brigade and division.
"This is the first time any unit (in the division) has received a perfect score on their evaluation," John E. Ball, 1st Inf. Div. EDRE chief, said.
Ball has been a part of more than 20 EDRE operations since 2006. Each level of an EDRE is evaluated by a division mission support element staff of Soldiers and civilians.
"Our division-led EDRE program is a competitive event," Col. Matthew J. Cody, 1st Inf. Div. operations officer, said. "It is designed to promote excellence among our units while at the same time ensuring the division's ability to rapidly respond globally with mission-ready forces."
This is the second time in recent months units from the division have teamed with aircraft crews from Travis AFB. In mid-November, "Big Red One" units conducted similar training with Airmen on a C-17 Globemaster III.
The division is not slated for joint training in the near future, but continues to look for those opportunities, Ausman said.
It was not just Soldiers and the Army who benefited from the EDRE.
"We are getting training that goes beyond our normal daily operation," Staff Sgt. Mathew Dolan, 22nd Airlift Squadron, 60th Air Mobility Group, said. "Track vehicles are something we don't get a lot of time with so to be able to load and secure one is always a benefit for us."
For some of the Airmen, this was a first as they don't often get to see and train with large items like this, he added.
"This is my first opportunity with a track vehicle," Airman 1st Class Auldon Barker, 22nd Airlift Squadron, 60th Air Mobility Group, said. "There's a lot that goes in to loading large equipment."
The C-5 crew conducted air refueling training operations over the Flint Hills earlier in the day, but the Airmen looked forward to getting back on the ground to work with Soldiers and equipment.
"It was definitely a great experience," Dolan said. "Everybody was mission ready from the start."