Nearly 400 Airmen from the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force, California, deployed to the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Michigan, from April 9-14, for Exercise Roundel Perun 22-01, a large readiness exercise meant to test the “fly-away” method of employing forces. This exercise also marks the first time the 60th AMW has conducted an LRE in more than ten years. More than 20,000 personnel are on Travis AFB, and close to 400 Airmen went to the Alpena CRTC and became a fully operational wing within 24 hours. Among the multiple purposes this exercise served, exploring the concept of multi-capable Airmen (MCA) was an integral part of the exercise’s success.
“The fly-away exercise is a concept of operations, of actually employing every function that our base has—away from home station to operate in a foreign location with all of our equipment, personnel and forces available to execute our global mobility mission. We have a lot of new folks doing this for the first time out of Travis. It’s unique that we have a lot of personnel working with each other that normally wouldn’t do so on a normal basis at home station. Because it is a smaller element, it takes all hands on deck to really make this successful,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Marcotte, Travis’ inspector general and exercise assistant controller.
“What that really gets after, in my book, is everyone being willing to step up and do someone else’s job,” said Col. Ryan Garlow, 60th AMW vice commander, and commander of Viking Air Base, the simulated operating location for the exercise.
Garlow commended Airmen for stepping up and integrating as teammates with each other because of the smaller than regular-sized force to run the mission. For example, Staff Sgt. Casey Bonillas, 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation specialist, was roomed with the non-commissioned officer in charge of fuels operations during the exercise and noticed his roommate coming in late after working 14 to 15 hour days. According to Bonillas, he and his counterpart for the exercise, Tech. Sgt. Randy Ahlers, a 60th LRS ground transportation specialist, took it upon themselves to help with fuels operations when their shuttle service was underutilized.
Along with exploring the MCA concept, the wing inspection team used the LRE to evaluate multiple functional areas/sections and their relevant core tasks related to the exercise, as stated by Maj. Chris Cummings, the LRE lead planner and main executioner of Roundel Perun. It’s about having a minimum force at a base and being able to shift focus at a moment’s notice to stay mobile. Thus, he said, enabling our forces to stay within the enemy’s sphere of recognition or what military strategists like to refer to as the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop. Exercises of this scale ensure we fine-tune the techniques, tactics, and confidence to ensure we are ready for the next fight.