Dragon Spear Descends on California Desert

Airmen and aircraft from all over the United States converged in the California desert on Aug. 5 and 6 for a complex joint training exercise, according to Air Force and DOD news releases. As part of Operation Dragon Spear, C-17s from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., JB Charleston, S.C., and JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, as well as C-130s from Dyess AFB, Texas, Pope Army Airfield, N.C., and Little Rock AFB, Ark. staged at March AFB in California to load hundreds of soldiers and their heavy equipment for a large scale joint forcible entry exercise. From March, airlifters flew to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. to airdrop the soldiers for a simulated assault, and then deliver vehicles and other equipment for the ground forces. C-130s also flew sustainment missions to provide additional troops, resupply forces and medevac mock casualties. “This was new territory. The Army has never done an airborne assault like that there before and we have never executed out of that location before,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Lankford, commander of the 41st Airlift Squadron, based at Little Rock AFB. During the exercise, which was observed by Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, aircraft delivered more than 600 soldiers and more than 850,000 pounds of equipment.