Joint exercise promotes readiness amidst worldwide pandemic

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeff Fitzmorris
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Multiple wings from around the U.S. met at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for the Predictable Iron exercise July 12-25, 2020, despite an ongoing worldwide pandemic.

The 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, lllinois, Air National Guard, the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry division U.S. Army Reserve Alaska (USARAK) and the 18th Aggressor Squadron, Eielson AFB, Alaska, worked closely together during the joint exercise. The intent of the exercise was to build individual and small unit airborne combat proficiency with a jumper focus for the Army and a tactical airdrop and air-land focus for air assets.

Capt. Mike Hall, 731st Airlift Squadron and tactical airlift mission commander, stated that one of the bigger goals of this exercise is personnel airdrops. They dropped over 1,000 personnel out of the C-130s, performed large equipment drops and practiced multi-aircraft formation. They also trained flight crews for fighter engagements to prepare for going downrange.

“This training gave us the chance to go off the beaten path by flying in a challenging mountain environment while navigating a lot of moving pieces in working with other units,” said Hall.

Predictable Iron consisted of air combat training with F-16 engagements from Eielson AFB, air-to-air fighter contested airdrop, air-ground emitter training, contested low-level flying and countermeasures, mass aerial delivery, assault landing training and tactical datalink training.

Capt. Luke Berve, 731 AS, joined the exercise to achieve an upgrade from co-pilot to aircraft commander.

“This is a really cool opportunity for me as a new aircraft commander,” said Berve. “Just the overall working through personnel conflicts with a really good crew, that’s great training.”

One thing that set this exercise apart was working with USARAK. According to Berve, it was a smooth transition working together with the Army, despite differing lingos between branches.

SGT Isaac Gonzalez, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, said it was great to work with the other services.

“It doesn’t matter what service you are in, everyone plays their part and works well together to accomplish the mission,” said Gonzalez.

Hall, who said he expected to finish the exercise with a ‘mission complete,’ said they accomplished all objectives.

“[This was] a great opportunity to get training we can’t get back home,” said Hall. “One of the things you don’t see is the teamwork behind the scenes. I’m really proud of how all the services have worked together. With all the early mornings and late hours that are required to make this event happen, there are a lot of moving parts and it takes a great team to make it all work.”