A C-130 landing on a Wyoming highway, learning combat casualty care in Rifle and high-altitude paratrooper drops were part of a multiday training exercise for military personnel during the annual Rally in the Rockies.
Colorado and Wyoming played host to Air Force reservists and National Guardsmen from around the country. The training also included making cargo drops, task force resupply and personnel extraction. It was designed to challenge and prepare airmen for combat operations while presenting them with realistic scenarios.
“The Rally in the Rockies exercise ensures the Air Force Reserve and National Guard can provide an instantaneous surge capacity across most mission sets to strengthen our active-duty counterparts,” said Maj. Nick Hainsfurther, 913th Operations Support Squadron pilot and lead exercise planner.
The 913th Airlift Group is based in Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. More than 12 Air Force Reserve units from the 22nd and 10th Air Force and various National Guard units went through the simulated exercises.
Rifle Garfield County Airport in Rifle served as a forward operating base, with Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs acting as the main base. More than 100 airmen were based in Rifle — the main air operations location — where some participated in multicapable airmen training, in which they learned a variety of Air Force jobs including tactical combat casualty care and wet-wing defueling.
“We are having airmen learn capabilities outside their day-to-day jobs to help them take on future challenges they may encounter by increasing their readiness and expanding their war-fighting capabilities in a expeditionary environment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Nugent, 22nd Air Force, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., logistics planner and exercise lead for multicapable airmen training.
“We have aerial porters, maintainers, security forces and medical technicians doing things outside their career field and that’s by design.”
The 354th Fighter Squadron out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona — home to A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft used for close air support — participated in the exercise in Rifle and sees its value.
They often deploy in small groups and need airmen with diverse skillsets.
“To maintain the same lethality with a smaller team, we need airmen who can fill whatever role the team needs to execute the mission,” said Maj. Pops O’Brien, 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot. “Multicapable airmen equals a mission-capable attitude.
“The training we get in exercises such as this is invaluable. We must arm our airmen with the training, resources and equipment needed to engage in the high-end fight.”