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123rd CRG completes TRANSCOM training mission with Army

Senior Airman Emily Goss, an aerial porter from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group, moves cargo during a Joint Task Force-Port Opening exercise known as Operation Lone Oak at Volk Field, Wis., June 11, 2021. The cargo movement was part of everyday operations during the JFT-PO exercise, which combined the efforts of the CRG with the U.S. Army’s 690th Rapid Port Opening Element from Fort Eustis, Va.

Senior Airman Emily Goss, an aerial porter from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group, moves cargo during a Joint Task Force-Port Opening exercise known as Operation Lone Oak at Volk Field, Wis., June 11, 2021. The cargo movement was part of everyday operations during the JFT-PO exercise, which combined the efforts of the CRG with the U.S. Army’s 690th Rapid Port Opening Element from Fort Eustis, Va.

VOLK FIELD, Wis. – More than 100 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group and 50 Army Soldiers with the 690th Rapid Port Opening Element participated in Operation Lone Oak, a Transportation Command Turbo Distribution exercise June 7-12.

The exercise tested the rapid-assessment and airfield-opening capabilities of contingency forces and established a Joint Task Force-Port Opening, a complete air logistics hub and surface distribution network.

Airmen established an aerial port of debarkation, which received and staged cargo arriving by airlift. The Soldiers from Fort Eustis, Virginia, simultaneously set up a ground transportation network, shuttling cargo from the airfield to a forward node for onward movement by external agencies.

The APOD and the forward node were in separate areas in a notionally semi-permissive environment but ran smoothly thanks to seamless cooperation between the two military elements, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Adams, JTF-PO commander for the exercise.

“It was amazing to see how our folks combined with the Army and came together as one joint team to do the job we did for this exercise,” Adams said. “We faced extreme heat conditions and a severe weather event on the flight line that suspended the exercise for a short time, in addition to the normal challenges posed by an experienced exercise control group, yet our Airmen and Soldiers never stopped working and helping each other out. It was a tremendous effort by everyone.”

A JFT-PO deploys to austere areas that lack facilities or forces to safely and effectively distribute cargo and supplies to end-users or to move relief supplies into areas affected by catastrophic events such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes.

JTF-POs deploy with everything to establish cargo operations, from power production, communications gear and material-handling equipment to aircraft mechanics, security forces and civil engineers. Once a JTF-PO is established, the mission is handed off to replacement forces for a longer-term distribution operation.

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