146th AW transports personnel, supplies during civil unrest response
By Senior Airman Michelle Ulber, 146th Airlift Wing
/ Published July 10, 2020
CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Port Hueneme, Calif. -- The 146th Airlift Wing (146 AW) performed over 75 sorties (military operational flights) moving 1,574 personnel and 364,600 pounds of supplies across California June 1– 5, 2020.
Activated to support civil authorities protecting lives and property during a series of civil unrest events in the Los Angeles County area, the 146 AW provided a combined total of 63 flying hours within a week utilizing its flagship aircraft, the C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft.
Vice Commander for the 146 AW, Col. William Green, said that airmen airlifted from Air National Guard wings across the state would immediately undergo the strict and structured rules of use of force training, should they be called upon to support civil authorities in Los Angeles.
"With the indicators of civil unrest rising, expedience and standardization were of great concern for all as we tasked our airmen with increasing our presence to support of our state's civil authorities. We immediately provided our most highly trained and ready Security Forces to assist at the LA Convention Center, while simultaneously providing our larger tier two forces with additional training at Camp Roberts," said Green.
"When the personnel from all five wings in the state arrived at Camp Roberts for training, we began to initiate a standard training profile for all of them. During the training, airmen received weapon familiarization and very detailed strict guidance on the rules of use of force and basic public interface training. This was to ensure legal and lawful assistance could be provided to local civil authorities if and when they were needed," said Green.
Airmen would receive three days of training before the 146 AW airlifted them to cities in Northern and Southern California in preparation for the request for more National Guard personnel in areas with high levels of civil unrest operations taking place.
No additional requests for National Guard personnel would materialize. As the civil unrest in most counties began to wane, the decision was made on June 5 to pull back National Guard assets that had deployed.
Green says he's impressed with the mobilization effort given the short amount of time the wings had to assemble.
"What the California Air National Guard accomplished that week was simply unprecedented. To receive, train and forward deploy the equivalent of an entire Wing in just days was nothing short of amazing, particularly considering the conditions of extreme summer heat. Even more impressive was the redeployment, where over 900 members were transported back to home station in just over 24 hours. Our airmen's ability to rapidly execute a mission under the duress of the COVID-19 pandemic facing our entire nation was a testament to their resilience and fortitude. While this demonstrated the power of our California Air National Guard, it was the determination of each one of our airmen to adapt to the rapidly evolving situation that made it work," said Green.
Green added, "When I mentioned what a Herculean effort this was to our state leadership, they responded with 'Not just a Herculean effort, but a Herculean outcome, as well."