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Airmen wrap up “proof of principle” operations in Romania, Bulgaria
Senior Airman Kelsey Morse, 621st Contingency Response Wing cyber transport technician, prepares communication equipment for redeployment at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, on May 27, 2011. Fifty-four members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing deployed to Romania on May 9, 2011, to extend airfield capability supporting an airfield closure in the region and a U.S. Transportation Command multi-modal proof-of-principle evaluation. The Airmen moved more than 850 tons of cargo into and out of Afghanistan during the three-week operation. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Laura K. Deckman)
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 621st Contingency Response Wing
Airmen wrap up 'proof of principle' operations in Romania, Bulgaria

Posted 5/31/2011   Updated 6/2/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. Laura K. Deckman
621st Contingency Response Wing


5/31/2011 - MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania  -- Members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., wrapped up operations here and at Burgas Airport, Bulgaria on May 31 after a more than three-week deployment.

An important part of the mission was to demonstrate the capability of the airport at MK to support "multi-modal operations" for a U.S. Transportation Command proof-of-principle evaluation.

USTRANSCOM applies the term "multi-modal" to the movement of cargo by more than one mode of transportation. In this case, the evaluation was intended to demonstrate the practicality of using the air base at MK and the seaport at Constanta as a hub for equipment flowing into and out of Afghanistan.

During the deployment, the 621st CRW also supported the temporary basing of several C-17 aircraft at MK and KC-135 Stratotankers at Burgas temporarily deployed from another base in the region closed for routine runway repairs.

"Our mission here was twofold," said Col. Johnny Roscoe, 385th Air Expeditionary Group commander. "Our first task was to continue operations in support of U.S. Central Command while the primary operating location for the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron was closed. The second mission was to build stronger relationships with our Romanian and Bulgarian allies while demonstrating a multi-modal proof of principle evaluation in support of USTRANSCOM."

Approximately 250 Airmen from across the Air Force joined the 621st CRW and processed more than 850 tons of cargo and delivered 265,000 gallons of fuel supporting operations in Afghanistan.

The CRW arrived on May 9 and set up airfield operations at both locations to bring in follow-on aircraft and personnel. A contingency response element of approximately 50 personnel set up cargo operations at MK airbase and a smaller, contingency response team of just 12 Airmen staged air refueling operations out of Burgas Airport.
Within a week of arrival, the 385th AEG joined the CRW teams and air-refueling and cargo delivery missions started.

"The CRW was the first team to arrive on station and the last aircraft out," said Maj. Pete Mastrionni, 621st Contingency Response Element commander. "With our mission partners, we worked for nearly a month maintaining a 100-percent success rate, executing 39 missions with no delays, no mishaps and no injuries."

Airmen from 80 different Air Force career fields came together to make the mission here and at Burgas a success.

"It's like I'm sitting at an operational base where I have command and control bringing in aircraft, maintenance personnel recovering aircraft, aerial porters loading planes and aircrew flying them," said Colonel Roscoe. "It's just like I'm back at home at McGuire except the scenery is different and the people are speaking a different language."

The 621st CRW is one of only two contingency response wings in the Air Force and is prepared to deploy at a moment's notice. The CRWs combine unique skill sets with the ability to tailor teams of mobility Airmen to carry out a variety of missions ranging from humanitarian assistance to air base opening. In this case, the mission required a team of experts knowledgeable in setting up an airbase and conducting air mobility operations.

"The CRW is really one of the crown jewels of the mobility air forces," said Colonel Roscoe. "CRWs can pick up and go anywhere in the world and operate bringing everything you need for airpower except the aircraft. We tasked them with a mission and knew exactly what we wanted and the CRW was able to tailor the package to give me, the supported commander, exactly what I needed to get the job done."

The CRW is wrapping up operations at both locations and expects to be home within the week.



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