Story by Maj. Kimberly Burke on 08/13/2019JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
The Western Air Defense Sector participated in Exercise Rainier War June 26, 2019. Rainier War is semiannual large formation exercise, hosted by the 62nd Airlift Wing, designed to train aircrews under realistic scenarios that support a full spectrum operations against modern threats and replicate today's contingency operations.
The exercise specifically highlights the C-17's capabilities to perform the Air Force's core competencies of rapid global mobility and precision engagement. The exercise simulated ingress to a non-friendly nation in order to evacuate non-combatants.
Including WADS air battle managers in this exercise brings "a whole new dimension to the fight, enhancing the incredible capabilities different platforms already bring," said Lt. Col. Ricardo Camel, 225th Air Defense Squadron director of operations. "Working closely with the C-17's allowed all players to see how our air battle managers can improve the execution of a mission. The end goal is always to streamline tasks and information, ensuring everyone up and down the chain maintains the most situational awareness at all times, and these officers demonstrated this perfectly."
For this exercise, eight C-17s performed numerous airdrops and resupply missions, including to unimproved airstrips. "Two of these airdrops were dynamic and passed from WADS real-time for the C-17s to execute," said Capt. Jesse Witmer, 225th Air Defense Squadron air battle manager. "WADS' biggest role was overall battle management in order to aid the mission commander in mission execution, and to ensure higher headquarters had appropriate situational awareness."
In addition, WADS' role in execution also consisted of mission planning, check-in/check-out and force accountability, air refueling, and coordinating with the handing over of aircraft to and from Mountain Home Control and Reporting Center and landing zone controllers.
As an added bonus, WADS was able to send four air battle managers to fly onboard the C-17s in order to accomplish a portion of their training requirements to convert to rated air battle managers. In April 2019, Air Force Manual 11-402, Aviation Resource Management, updated guidance which made classification of ground and air-assigned air battle management duties equal. Thus, all air battle managers will be rated after completion of necessary training regardless of the system employed.
"By rating all air battle managers, the Air Force has ensured we maintain our lethal edge," said Lt. Col. Brian Bergren, 225th Air Defense Squadron commander. "Increasing total force integration globally, will allow these talented officers to be in the most critical spots around the world, doing critical missions. In this career field, we have adopted the motto Jack of All Trades and I feel like these officers demonstrated their invaluable skillset while working with the other platforms in this exercise."
Exercise Rainier War participants included:
C-17s from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Dover AFB, Del.; Travis AFB, Calif.; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
U.S. Army's 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
34th Fighter Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah
389th Fighter Squadron and 726th Air Control Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
921st Contingency Response Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif.
Royal Australian Air Force C-17