Dynamic capability: 911th AW exercises ability to generate and complete mission in record time

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Marjorie A. Schurr
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Reserve has a unique capability to deploy people and assets within 72 hours to anywhere in the world. But if situations made it necessary to move operations to another location quickly, could it done even faster?

That is exactly what the 911th Airlift Wing set out to prove today as part of a Continuity of Operations, or COOP, exercise.

“The COOP plan is there to ensure we can still do the mission even if, at any particular point, we might not be able to do it out of Pittsburgh,” said Maj. Wes Cranmer, pilot with the 758th Airlift Squadron.

Cranmer wrote and designed the scenario for the exercise, which included a simulated crash and notional damage to the airfield that would prevent aircraft from taxiing in or out.

“These exercises often focus on a loss of civilian infrastructure due to a natural disaster, like a loss of power or communication capability,” said Cranmer. “But people expect us, the military, to be able to act even when the worst things happen.”

Base leadership simulated transferring operations to a different location, driving just over an hour away at Youngstown ARS to test command and control capabilities while in transit.

As part of the exercise, maintenance and operations personnel generated an aircraft to fly to Youngstown. That aircraft was then re-tasked to pick up cargo, personnel, and a vehicle and fly them back to Pittsburgh – and all of which ended up being done in record time.

“We weren’t even supposed to fly today,” said Bailey. “We still were able to dynamically task an unexpected mission to fly to an unplanned destination and be re-tasked upon arrival. All told, it took us three hours from tasking until we were mission complete and wheels down back in Pittsburgh.”

Cutting the timeline from three days to three hours was a considerable achievement, said Bailey. Exercises like this highlight the importance of readiness and resilience of all personnel; it is critical to the success of agile combat employment that Steel Airmen be ready to go anytime, anywhere.

“This time, we happened to go to Youngstown,” said Bailey. “Next time, it could be anywhere in the world.”