35 FW inspects, deploys to Cope North
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- More than 120 Airmen departed Misawa Air Base, Jan. 30, for exercise Cope North 2016 held at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
This annual exercise afforded the installation inspector general and wing inspection team an opportunity to see how efficient the deployment process is and identify areas for improvement. The 35th Fighter Wing held its own exercise in conjunction with the deployment to Cope North, which lasted roughly five days and helped enable the teams to accomplish existing training requirements, implement recommended improvement areas and close out existing deficiencies.
With an existing deployment in place, the opportunity to evaluate how Airmen process through a real world scenario couldn't make things any more realistic, ultimately helping to make efficient use of wing time. Using Cope North, Misawa AB showcased its real world deployment capabilities across the spectrum.
"This exercise is different because in the past it's been a synthetic scenario," said Maj. Michael Wheeler, a 35th Fighter Wing inspector general. "Whereas, this is a pre-planned deployment that we were already supporting so we were able to add in the objectives for the exercise over what we were already doing."
Wheeler went on to describe that typically a personnel deployment function line scenario is created to process Airmen for exercises, but Cope North had an existing PDF. This is a centralized in and out-processing procedure for Airmen who are mass deploying.
Two of the largest areas being observed were the PDF and the cargo deployment function. The CDF is responsible for all actions necessary to receive, in-check, inspect, marshal, load plan, manifest and supervise loading cargo aboard deploying aircraft or vehicles.
Palletizing was the central focus during the CDF, ensuring all 200,000 pounds of military equipment was safely packed and loaded onto pallets correctly.
"A lot of the time the units won't have the necessary materials to palletize properly," said Airman 1st Class Alexander Cummings, a 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron receiving cargo journeyman. "So they'll bring things here [that] may be done incorrectly, so we have a section of people that are able to help them get through the process and get their [gear] ready to go."
"We're still learning," added Senior Airman Nicole Kittel, 35th Maintenance Squadron propulsions journeyman. "Getting used to [the tempo] and trying to figure out our jobs and who needs to be where has probably been the hardest part of this whole [exercise]."
Once pallets are built-up, a manifest is created making sure every piece is tracked and safely loaded onto the aircraft.
"I will process the paperwork in our computer system compiling a manifest and making sure Air Mobility Command has everything on record that they're going to need," Cummings said. "We [then] need to make sure we have the capability to get everything palletized and loaded onto the aircraft safely. We also have to make sure all our units have the necessary equipment they're going to need."
The overall goal during the exercise was to make sure the wing can effectively and efficiently deploy troops anywhere in the world.
"This is important because we are able to test out ability under a normal timeline to be able to send our forces out to any region any time," added Wheeler.