19 AW showcases combat readiness in Gnarly Explodeo

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Maria Umanzor Guzman
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing successfully completed the Gnarly Explodeo readiness exercise at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 30 - Feb. 9, 2024.

The primary objective of this Air Mobility Command directed exercise was to guarantee the base's preparedness for swift deployment, highlighting the rapid and precise projection of 19th AW forces to support the warfighter in critical locations, ensuring light, agile, and distributed operations.

To kick off this exercise, the 19th AW implemented the Rocket Launch Playbook, which facilitated the rapid deployment of eight C-130J Super Hercules aircraft within an exceptionally condensed timeframe, supporting the Joint Force scheme of maneuver.

The rapid deployment was an installation-wide effort with participation from Airmen assigned to the 19th AW, 314th AW, 913th Airlift Group, and 189th AW.

“Our main focus throughout this exercise was enhancing AMC’s ability to sense and seize opportunities for deploying, sustaining, and maneuvering the Joint Force in challenging environments,” said Col. Denny Davies, 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander. “This emphasis was crucial to enabling dynamic mission generation and execution, allowing us to hone our skills and remain responsive and adaptable to emerging threats."

During Explodeo, to test the base’s essential pre-deployment processes, Airmen assigned to the 19th AW and the 913th AG were processed through a simulated Personnel Deployment Function line. Going through the PDF line, Airmen were briefed by essential agencies, outfitted with appropriate gear, and provided with all necessary deployment documentation. This portion of the exercise tested the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s ability to process personnel and cargo in a timely manner.

Following the PDF line, two C-130J Super Hercules from the 41st Airlift Squadron took off to conduct a roughly 30-hour single-aircraft maximum endurance mission demonstrating multi-day mission generation capabilities while only landing to refuel. This marks the first time a C-130 crew has conducted a MEO and immediately executed a tactical combat airdrop upon arrival.

Explodeo also provided the 19th AW the opportunity to refine their expertise in C-130 Hot-Integrated Combat Turns, which involves prioritizing a minimal turnaround for aircraft, optimizing recovery launch times by concurrently fueling, loading/unloading cargo, reconfiguring the aircraft, and performing other services with all engines operational.

“Through the application of tactics, techniques, and procedures, we aim to disrupt adversaries' tracking and targeting capabilities, ensuring maximum tempo and navigation security while sustaining global command and control for our mobility forces,” said Davies. “Readiness events like these are vital to foster the awareness and connectivity needed for victory."

Lastly, Airmen from the 19th AW and the 913th AG partook in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear training exercise where they demonstrated their abilities to react to a CBRN attack within a deployed environment, ensuring forces of all ranks and occupations could survive and continue to carry out the mission.

“The ability to accomplish what we did on a compressed timeline is a key component in enabling the Joint Force to Win in a future fight,” said Capt. Steven La Rue, 19th AW Inspection General director of operations. “As with any exercise or training event, regular practice keeps Herk Nation’s personnel sharp and maintains our Warrior Ethos Mindset. The 19th AW and Herk Nation demonstrated the capability to Move Out and enable Rapid Global Mobility Anywhere, Anytime!”

Through relentless efforts in readiness events like Explodeo, the 19th AW continues to emphasize the critical link between deterrence, and decisive victory. AMC remains steadfast in their preparation, posturing, and presentation of ready Air Mobility forces to support national security objectives that contribute to the overarching success of the national defense mission.

"Explodeo played a pivotal role in ensuring our forces not just survive, but thrive in highly contested environments, showcasing our dedication to joint power projection and aligning with the National Defense Strategy,” said Davies. “We are committed to executing Agile Combat Employment operations and creating Mission Ready Airmen, reinforcing our readiness to conduct mobility operations, provide TacAir Anywhere, and uphold the rules-based international order.”