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C-130 News:Chennault hosts Green Flag Exercise


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Many in the Lake Area may have noticed a couple of C-130 aircraft sharing the sky Thursday with the beautiful fall sunshine. They weren't just testing their flight capabilities, though. The aircraft were being flown as part of a Green Flag Exercise — a joint military training program conducted, in this case, with soldiers from the U.S., Canada and Sweden that took place at Chennault International Airport.

The 61st Airlift Squadron out of Little Rock Air Force Base, the 621st Contingency Response Wing out of Travis Air Force Base and the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., teamed with soldiers from Canada and Sweden to take part in the training. Exercises for this specialist crew focus on combat airlift and airdrop as well as survival, evasion, resistance and escape scenarios.

Major Lance Peak, an instructor pilot in the 61st Airlift Squadron, said prior to Thursday's training that the event was an effort to create more "cohesive interoperability" with the Army that will allow for joint live training between the Army and Air Force.

"The Green Flag exercises are predominantly run out of the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk," Peak said. "What Little Rock does, the C-130's particularly, is we provide airdrop and airlift capability, and we all operate out of the big range in Fort Polk. We do landings into the dirt and airdrops for the troops. This time we are training with Canada and Sweden. That's what we do when we're down range, or in any type of environment and we're never working by ourselves, so it forces us to do this joint live training. You can't really do that in certain airspace."

The airspace over Chennault was definitely welcoming for Peak and the soldiers partaking in the training mission.

"Chennault obviously used to be an airforce base," Peak said. "We wanted something close, and Chennault is only about a 30-minute flight from Fort Polk. When I reached out, everyone here was super supportive and they have been bending over backwards to accommodate us while we've been here. I have nothing but good things to say about our time here at Chennault."

"We're very mission-oriented," said Kevin Melton, Chennault's executive director, just before the C-130s took off for the day's exercises.

"I'm a retired Air Force guy so I understand a lot of the Air Force missions and what it takes to do these kinds of things," Melton said. "We (Chennault) have lots of capabilities, ramp space and the longest runway in the state of Louisiana. Our piece is to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure their mission is met safely, first and foremost, and to make sure they we're able to effect a positive mission result."

In addition to performing airdrops and airlifts for soldiers during wartime, the 61st has also assisted in civilian times of crises.

"We were in New Orleans for Katrina in 2005," Peak said. "And we were in Houston for Hurricane Harvey just a couple of years ago."

Thursday's Green Flag exercises were the first such exercises for the Air Force in this fiscal year; there are typically around four or five such exercises per year.

Source: https://www.americanpress.com/news/local/chennault-hosts-green-flag-exercise/article_09c9decd-82ff-5520-9d75-0d20954998bf.html

2019-10-25 MC-130J Green Flagjpg.jpg

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