New Group Keeps Army Jumping

A group activated this summer at Pope Army Airfield, N.C.—the only en route operations group in the continental United States—is overseeing a large increase of joint operations there. The 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group, activated in June, has no aircraft of its own, but manages transient aircraft and the missions they fly with Army paratroopers at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to a USAF release. In the past year, the number of missions flown a month at Pope has increased by 20 percent, from about 27 to 34. The 900-airmen group is “built to provide that excess capacity as we continue to grow the numbers of transient aircraft coming through to support airborne operations at Fort Bragg,” Commander Col. Kelly Holbert said, according to the release. USAF aircraft have already provided the Army at least 56,000 jumps this fiscal year, an increase of 6,000 over Fiscal 2015, according to the release. The repetitive training is key for the paratroopers who make up the global response force, said Army Lt. Col. Mark Ivezaj, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. “In order for our paratroopers to be confident in what they do they have to practice it and that relies heavily on the Air Force,” he said.