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Nevada, Wyoming Air Guard Conduct Mountain Airlift Training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angela Crawford,
  • 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

RENO, Nev. - The 153rd Airlift Wing from Cheyenne, Wyoming, attended Advanced Mountain Airlift Tactics School training hosted by the 192nd Airlift Squadron at the Nevada Air National Guard Base at the end of March.

AMATS exposes aircrew members to high-altitude mountainous flying environments they do not usually encounter. Aircrews fly low-altitude missions in dangerous terrain, which provides tactical advantages over adversaries, but the risks require more planning to ensure safety and mission success.

The 192nd Airlift Squadron and the 153rd Airlift Wing worked jointly with the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) out of Bridgeport, California. MWTC coordinated with their Air Force counterparts to execute low-level routes in canyons, climb-outs over terrain, and short-notice, on-call airdrops.

The four-day course began with academics. The crews then plan and fly the following three days with increasing workload and complexity.

“Our local area around Reno provides the ideal training environment to plan and fly into aggressive terrain,“ said Lt. Col. Joseph Jaquish, AMATS instructor pilot from the 192nd Airlift Squadron. “We work in conjunction with the MWTC in Bridgeport, California, to demonstrate high-temperature, high-altitude, heavy-weight aircraft operations in hazardous terrain. Together with the MWTC, we provide a safe training environment for crews to plan, fly, then debrief their missions.”

Reno is considered such an ideal training environment due to temperatures that can fluctuate from one extreme to the other, combined with the high elevation and mountainous terrain.

“In all my years of experience, I honestly can’t imagine a better place for it,” said Jaquish. ”No other airlift squadron has the environment in terms of airspace and terrain that we do, not one. That, combined with our relationships with our Army counterparts, Herlong, Hawthorne, Fallon Naval Air Station and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, there simply isn’t a better place to conduct this course.”

If a crew were to have a mission in a similar environment without adequate experience and planning, the chance of mission failure and safety risks would increase dramatically.

“Hands down, the best part is watching the crew members develop throughout the course. They’re exposed to challenges above and beyond normal training profiles, but the same challenges could be tasked to us at any moment for joint exercises, emergency response, or contingency operations,” Jaquish said. “Watching their growth into becoming expert tactical airlifters is the best part. By the end of the course, they make it look easy, but ‘easy’ couldn’t be further from the truth.”