Airmen, Soldiers Practice Opening Aerial Port

More than 170 airmen and soldiers rehearsed standing up an aerial port as part of Exercise Eagle Flag 15-2 at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., announced base officials. The one-week exercise, which concluded in mid-March, helped refine US Transportation Command’s Joint Task Force-Port Opening concept, which calls for setting up an air base in an austere, potentially hostile environment. The exercise scenario focused on testing the ability of port-opening soldiers from JB Langley-Eustis, Va., and contingency response airmen from Travis AFB, Calif., to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief to refugee camps. “Our goal is to turn a barren dirt strip into a bustling logistics hub some 12 hours later,” said Col. Scott Zippwald, commander of Travis’ 570th Contingency Response Group. From March 9 to March 13, participants simulated unloading cargo aircraft, handling 365 pieces of cargo and delivering more than 2.4 million pounds of mock aid. Zippwald said operations in the Middle East last summer and in West Africa more recently to stem the spread of the Ebola virus showed just how well airmen perform these tasks when called upon. The US Air Force Expeditionary Center hosted Eagle Flag.