Niagara, Minneapolis-St. Paul conduct multi-unit flight exercise
By Staff Sgt. Matthew Burke, 914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 01, 2015
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. --
Members of the 914 Airlift Wing participated in a multi-unit interfly with the 934th Airlift Wing, Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minn. here, in late spring.
The exercise was used to replace the cancelled Maple Flag 48, an international advanced aerial combat training exercise held in Canada, often attended by Air Force Reserve Command C-130 units. Niagara extended an invite to all AFRC C-130 units to come to the installation and have the opportunity to accomplish valuable training.
"Niagara signed up to be the lead unit for Maple Flag; a large-scale exercise with several different allied nations," said Maj. Michael McNulty, Chief of Tactics, 914th Operation Support Squadron. "The Canadians had to cancel it due to real-world commitments, as well as, some of the other AFRC units, but the 934th flew up so we're going to interfly and practice tactics with them."
The intention of the fly-away was to share tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as, experience garnered from different deployments. During the week units practiced airdrops by utilizing the drop zones located on base. Crews focused on alternative airdrop means to including Low Cost Low Altitude. LCLA is means for the C-130 to meet accuracy requirements due to small drop zones found in deployed locations.
"The training we're looking for is non-standard--stuff we normally don't get to do," said McNulty. "Whether its timelines, resources or funding that restricts this type of training, we're getting the chance to get our guys their initial qualifications and also the chance to fly with another unit."
This exercise extended beyond normal home station training. In addition to the participation by flying units, the 30th Aerial Port Squadron and Intel played a vital role in presenting realistic scenarios replicating the current AOR environment. Although the standards are the same, procedures may differ from base to base and unit to unit.
"It gives us a chance to see different drop zones and practice formations with an unfamiliar unit," said Capt. Dan Schei, aircraft commander, 934th Airlift Wing. "Every unit has localisms that they get reliant on, and it always helps to see how someone else does something differently. Major McNulty and his staff have provided us with some great products and excellent training."