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8 Wing joins Canadian Army, US Military in major airborne exercise

JOAX

Members from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) based out of Canadian Forces Base Petawawa have their parachute inspected by members from the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team prior to loading an Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130J Hercules, Aircraft 602 in Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, USA during the Joint Operational Access Exercise (JOAX) in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo by Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing Imaging ©2013 DND-MDN, Canada

By Captain Christopher Daniel
The busy airspace of North Carolina has witnessed the combined efforts of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), the Canadian Army, the United States Army, and the United States Air Force (USAF) during the Joint Operational Access Exercise (JOAX) 13-02 at Fort Bragg this past week.

“We have a long history of working jointly with other nations,” said 8 Wing Commander, Colonel (Col) Sean Friday. “The JOAX is valuable to us as we get to work with our allies under realistic training scenarios, exchange best practices, and learn from each other.”

More than 50 members from 8 Wing/CFB Trenton participated in the exercise. The Canadian Army deployed approximately 400 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR), together with other soldiers from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group to learn and exchange best practices with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, who hosted the exercise. This is the third year 3 RCR has participated in this annual exercise.

“The JOAX is a major airborne exercise that is aimed at validating the readiness in airborne and air assault operation,” said Major Tyler Holland, 8 Wing Detachment Officer and an exchange officer with the RCAF from the US Marine Corps. “Our participation in this exercise includes tactical airdrop and air transport missions as part of a large multinational package.”

436 (Transport) Squadron sent its CC-130J Hercules aircraft, while 429 (Transport) Squadron sent its CC-177 Globemaster III in support of the exercise.

Col. Friday noted that maintaining an important balance between the training and employment of resources is a priority of his Wing.

“This exercise provided our personnel with a high readiness training opportunity, encompassing the concepts of modern combat and interoperability with our allies,” he noted.

Captain (Capt) Jordan Forbes, a CC-130J Hercules pilot from 436 (Transport) Squadron said that participating in this exercise provided him with a unique tactical flying experience.

“Flying around Fort Bragg is challenging because of the busy airspace considering the nearby commercial airport in Fayetteville and international airports that are considered to be of short flying distance from us. It was an excellent learning experience for me,” he said.

Capt Forbes said that in the beginning, it was a little bit hectic for planning as they were trying to get a feel of the area, but since they have settled in, planning became easier and as well accomplishing the different flying missions.

“Sometimes we had two launches and each one has about 70 or more jumpers in it,” said Capt Forbes. “When we took them into a drop zone, we did some tactical flying manoeuvres as part of our training and also to make it realistic for the guys who jump out of our Herc.”

The JOAX was an opportunity for 8 Wing members to be exposed to a large operation with the US military. Maintainers from 436 Squadron and 429 Squadron had friendly interactions with their counterparts from the USAF from various parts of the US. Fort Bragg had been  gracious in sharing their facility and had been welcoming to the RCAF crew.

“Working here is a memorable experience,” said Capt Forbes.

JOAX

Master Corporal Anatalie Melanson a Loadmaster from 436 (Transport) Squadron inspects the wing of a CC-130J Hercules, Aircraft 602 in Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, USA during the Joint Operational Access Exercise (JOAX) in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo by Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing Imaging ©2013 DND-MDN, Canada

JOAX

A loading crew from United States Airforce along with Royal Canadian Air Force members loads containers aboard the Canadian Forces CC-117 Globemaster for a Container Delivery System drop at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, USA during the Joint Operational Access Exercise (JOAX) in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo by Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing Imaging ©2013 DND-MDN, Canada

 

JOAX

Sergeant Terry Parsons, a Loadmaster from 436 (Transport) Squadron, along with First Sergeant Brian Tursich, Jumpmaster from the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team and Master Corporal James Bremner Jumpmaster from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) based out of Canadian Forces Base Petawawa recover static lines after a jump from a CC-130J Hercules, Aircraft 602 in Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, USA during the Joint Operational Access Exercise (JOAX) in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo by Corporal Owen W. Budge, 8 Wing Imaging ©2013 DND-MDN, Canada

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