FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. – The Chilean Air Force accomplished many firsts with their KC-130R aircraft in Exercise Mobility Guardian Sept 19-28, 2019.
“This is the first time we’ve launched the container delivery system,” said Chilean Air Force Col. Miguel Stange, Chilean delegation Mobility Guardian commander. “We have purchased the equipment to conduct CDS but it’s not yet in Chile. The support from the National Guard has been very important for this exercise.”
The Texas Air National Guard 136th Airlift Wing with their C-130 Hercules accompanied the Chilean Air Force and their KC-130R in the exercise as part of their State Partnership Program that has paired the two for 10 years. The Chilean Air Force borrowed buffer stop assembly and a center vertical restrain equipment from the 136th Airlift Wing during this exercise perform a mass container delivery system airdrops, of 16 bundles at a time.
U.S. Army riggers and U.S. Air Force joint airdrop inspectors prepared the airdrop cargo loads prior to fights. Once the cargo was loaded aboard KC-130R the Chilean crew worked closely with U.S. Army riggers and U.S. Air Force JAIs as they inspected the cargo load to guarantee it was properly connected and was undamaged.
“Our mission during mobility guardian is to rig the container delivery systems and heavy drop platforms that the Partner Nations are dropping over the drop zones,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Frank, Mobility Guardian rigging facility NCOIC, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “Our experience with Chile has been good”
The Chilean KC-130R was the only aircraft in the exercise that had airlift, airdrop and aerial refueling capability. One of the key training objectives also made history between the two nations by conducting air-to-air refueling between Chile’s KC-130R and the U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island for the first time.
“This is a very important milestone,” Stange said. “We are now certified to refuel the Growlers, in the future we can do air refueling for the U.S. Navy in Chile.”
The KC-130R aircraft conducted nine day and night missions to include night vision goggles formation flights, airlift, airdrop, air to air refueling, and aeromedical evacuations with critical care air transport teams.
The Chilean medical Airmen integrated with U.S. CCATT and AE Airmen to treat, stabilize and transport 37 simulated patents on a Chilean Air Force KC-130R.
“One of our main goals here is to test the interoperability between other countries,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Katlyn Kraemer, 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse. “Language barrier can always make things more difficult but everyone had such a positive attitude and were willing to work together to learn together.”
For the last year, the Chilean Airmen have been training with their night vision goggles in preparation for Mobility Guardian. Under the instruction and partnership with the Texas National Guard Airmen, the Chilean Air Force KC-130R crew preformed their first night flight formation using NVGs.
U.S. Air Force Maj Daryl Howard Texas Air National Guard 136th Airlift Wing, has years of experience partnering with the Chilean Air Force and expressed that the Chilean Airmen are well versed with operating a C-130 but that this exercise will assist the Chilean pilots in learning new flying tactics with the airframe.
“We understand the importance of this kind of exercise,” Stage said. “We need to know how to operate in other countries the most important [benefit] is building relationships with other countries and to verify the capabilities of the complex scenarios while integrating with multiple aircraft.”
The Chilean Minister of Defense Alberto Espina Otero, Chilean Chief of the Joint Staff Vice Admiral Rodrigo Alvarez and Chilean Air Force Chief of Staff Arturo Merino Nunez, traveled to the exercise to observe their country’s participation and to partake in the exercises distinguished visitor day Sept 25.
Espina Otero thanked the Chilean Airmen for their hard work and dedication and highlighted how their successes will affect Chile’s capability to conduct future engagements.
Mobility Guardian brought U.S. Air Force, joint and internationals partners together to train as they fight by strengthening partnerships, discovering and learning together to improve as a Total Force.
“Mobility Guardian is not just another mobility exercise,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Miller, Air Combat Command commander. “Mobility Guardian prepares us for the future threats we’re going to be facing.”