PORDENONE, Italy -- U.S. Army Europe's 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted Air Land Training workshop with the U.S. Air Force 86th Airlift Wing, Feb. 9, 2016, in preparation for Exercise Saber Junction 16, here.
The brigade's 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion facilitated a comprehensive classroom block of instruction covering an array training.
"Until attending this training, I never appreciated how much planning and preparation was required to move equipment by air," said Sgt. Adrien Tillery, an operations sergeant with 54th BEB. "From the initial TMRs, to correctly calculating the center of balance on a 15 ton vehicle, this job is important."
The Engineers also coordinated with the U.S. Air Force 37th Airlift Squadron for the culminating event of loading two items of heavy equipment into a C-130(J) aircraft: a Joint Network Node mounted on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle as well as a mounted "Shadow" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle launcher with HMMWV towing it.
"Being able to load our UAV Launcher into an aircraft really expedites our capability," said 1st Lt. Peter Ingram, the executive officer for Company D, 54th BEB. "Backside support training is rarely this worthwhile; I've never appreciated how valuable it is until witnessing the precision required to properly prepare thousands of pounds of equipment for flight."
This was the first of many training opportunities focusing on air load prior to Saber Junction 16, said 2nd Lt. Melissa Gibson, a unit movement officer with 54th BEB.
"It's good we are getting off on the right foot by training on air load now because this training has allowed us to get our feet wet by loading less complicated cargo in preparation for more complex loads next time," said Gibson. "One thing's for sure [though], we will be ready for Saber Junction 16."
Last year more than 4,700 participants from 17 nations participated in Saber Junction 15, April 1-30, 2015, with paratroopers conducting airborne operations into Romania and Germany with additional follow-on missions in each respective location. This year Saber Junction 16 will be held at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deploying forces to the U.S. Army Europe, Africa and Central Command Areas of Responsibility within 18 hours. The Brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build stronger relationships and strengthen the alliance.