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433rd AW, Army train together during Operation Lunar Phantom

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lauren M. Snyder
  • 433rd Airlift Wing

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —  Reserve Citizen Airmen loadmasters and aerial porters from 433rd Airlift Wing, and active-duty soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, participated in Operation Lunar Phantom, a joint air-load exercise held here March 1-3.

The joint and total force event allowed Soldiers and Airmen from several units to work together when preparing for real-world deployments.

“When these soldiers leave here, they will be certified to tie-down the equipment on the aircraft for the Army in the event we deploy,” said Army Platoon Sgt. Patrick C. Grant, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 61st Quartermaster Battalion first sergeant.

Soldiers from the 61st QM Bn., 53rd Quartermaster Company, 96th Transportation Company, and 418th Transportation Company could practice multiple deployment skills during their trip.

“We accomplished the planning, the preparation, convoyed to our destination here, and we’re staying out at Camp Bullis in our tents,” Grant said. “This was intended to be a mini deployment because we’re the early entry team. We go in first, set things up, receive the units coming into the area for the deployment, and process them in.”

Petroleum supply specialists along with motor transport operators and wheeled vehicle mechanics were shown Air Force equipment and techniques with hands-on practice in the 433rd AW's C-5 load trainer facility.

Then they loaded their deployment vehicles onto a waiting C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft to secure them with chains in preparation of simulated air transportation.

“It’s nice to see what we’re trained to do in loading our vehicles and trailers is about the same as how you guys load, but seeing the different equipment the two branches do use was interesting,” said Army Spc. Adam Gosser, 96th Trans. Co. heavy equipment transporter. “For future exercises, I’d like to see how you weigh the vehicles and learn to do that ourselves. It was pretty useful training—thorough and precise with good pacing on how to do everything.”

Training with other organizations sometimes also provides opportunities to work with unfamiliar equipment.

“The Army has trailers that are different than what we are used to working with,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Modesto Guevara, 26th Aerial Port Squadron. “We had to adjust how we operate to load their equipment. Our team, especially our junior members, were able to also receive quality training working with different organizations and different equipment."

Working well together as sister services was noticed throughout the experience.

“It was great to have the units combining forces in coming out here and working together in air load training and sling load training,” said Army 2nd Lt. Mayra A. Cuevas, 96th Trans. Co. heavy equipment transporter.

The joint training exercise helped cement skills and ties.

 “It was good to work so well together with you guys,” said Gosser. “I didn’t see any animosity between the branches or components—I didn’t even realize you were Reservists until I saw it on your aircraft.”