The 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., recently deployed some 153 personnel and five HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters to NAS North Island, Calif., to participate, along with rescue airmen from other units, in the Navy’s Third Fleet Joint Task Force Exercise. Conducted in November, the pre-deployment exercise for the USS Nimitz carrier strike group served as a blending of Air Force and Navy rescue capabilities to further the AirSea Battle concept, according to Davis-Monthan’s Dec. 13 release. “The exercise provided an opportunity to work with the Navy to pioneer how to most effectively execute personnel recovery operations under the umbrella of ASB,” said Col. Jason Hanover, 563rd RQG commander. The Davis-Monthan airmen got to experience strike-group integration, ASB operations, and maritime rescue tactics, techniques, and procedures, said Capt. Scott Rein, the group’s chief of weapons and tactics. Among their activities, airmen recovered personnel during a simulated attack on the carrier group, conducted a maritime gunnery drill to validate new tactics for opposed, overwater survivor recovery, and practiced with one of the Air Force’s new HC-130J personnel recovery airplanes, states the release. (North Island report by Capt. Matthew Babcock)
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.