August 6, 2014 (by SSgt. Chad Strohmeyer) - Four C-130 Hercules' and more than 70 personnel assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base Japan arrived at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, this week to undergo joint-aerial training with paratroopers from the 725th Brigade Support Battalion.
A C-130 Hercules from the 36th AS taxiis down the flightline during a training sortie on August 1, 2014, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The 36 AS traveled to JBER for off-station training prior to the Red Flag exercise. [USAF photo by SSgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer]
The training takes place one week before Exercise Red Flag and is designed to give Air Force and Army aircrew member's realistic training in challenging environments.
"This training gives us the opportunity to go off installation and learn different scenarios that we could not normally do in Japan," said Capt. Ian Haig, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot. "Being out of our comfort zone really challenges and motivates us to be that much sharper."
While the pilots received vital training, the loadmasters from the 36 AS were not left out. Working with the jump masters and paratroopers gave loadmasters an opportunity to expand their skill set in the event of a contingency.
"Being part of a massive training scenario such as this has been very beneficial for my fellow loadmasters and myself" said Staff Sgt. Noel Jones, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "Being in a position to get 90 plus paratroopers out the door and safely on the ground has definitely been one of the highlights of my career."
As the exercise progresses, the scenarios get tougher and require unparalleled teamwork between the two units.
"We have several more missions coming up that go through all hours of the night and will be sure to challenge us as an effective team," Haig said. "I have complete trust in my team. I have seen what they are capable of, and this training will only strengthen our ability as an airlift squadron."