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News > Airmen stand up contingency response element for Patriot Sands at MacDill
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Patriot Sands
Patriot Sands 2013 gets under way Feb. 22 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., with the 439th Contingency Response Element deployed to MacDill. The mission of the exercise is to deploy on short notice and quickly set up airlift operations. (US Air Force photo/MSgt. Andrew Biscoe)
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Airmen stand up contingency response element for Patriot Sands at MacDill

Posted 2/23/2013   Updated 2/23/2013 Email story   Print story


by MSgt. Andrew Biscoe
439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/23/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- More than 30 Patriot Wing Airmen formed a contingency response element team here as the Patriot Sands got under way here Feb. 22.

Airmen set up a mobile command post and other elements of a bare base operation as the sun rose just hours after the arrival of the Westover Airmen, who flew Feb. 21 with more than 70,000 pounds of cargo aboard a Patriot Wing C-5B Galaxy. The Airmen comprise those from the 439th Airlift Control Flight, 58th Aerial Port Squadron, 337th Airlift Squadron, operations, maintenance, and public affairs. Reservists from the 433rd ALCF and Combat Camera Airmen from 4th Combat Camera Squadron, from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., are also part of the exercise.

"We're about working airplanes," said Lt. Col. Rodney Furr, ALCF operations officer, as he addressed the group during the morning kickoff briefing.

A Westover C-5 "knelt" to the parking apron and C-17 Globemasters from Dover AFB, Del., and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, brought in members of FEMA and the FBI. Patriot Sands is also interagency in nature. The FEMA and FBI set up a short-term deployment site at MacDill before returning to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., which is also participating in Patriot Sands.

"Reserve ALCFs are referred to as CRE's when they are deployed," said Maj. Jessica Rose, CRE commander. "In the fiscally constrained environment in which we're working, this is an effective way to blend Airmen together as efficiently as possible. The mission of the CRE is aircrew management, aircraft flight following, maintenance of aircraft, and uploading and offloading of aircraft."

The self-contained CRE includes its own first sergeant and a PERSCO team. SrA. Elizabeth Antunez is one of the PERSCO specialists -- and a brand new ALCF Airman. She's on her first exercise.

"This is very interesting and informative," she said, as radios crackled in the background to indicate another inbound C-17. "I'm seeing how it all comes together with this CRE."

SrA. Antunez helps the CRE commander keep tabs on the Air Force's most valuable resource -- its wingmen.

"I know my job is very important," she said. "I'm responsible for keeping track of 31 Airmen here."

Maj. Rose said reserve ALCFs provide 45 percent of Air Mobility Command's Global Air Mobility Support System mission. ALCFs have participated in every major real-world deployment involving Air Force strategic airlift forces in the past decade, she said.

The exercise wraps up Feb. 24.

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