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437th supports JFE exercise over Nevada Testing and Training Range

A person sits in the cock pit of an aircraft

Capt. Nicholas Cox, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot instructor assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., conducts pre-flight checks at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., Dec. 7, 2019. The 16th AS staged at Pope to load the 82nd Airborne Division assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. The 437th Airlift Wing supported exercise Joint Forcible Entry 19B by sending three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

Three C-17 aircraft sit on a flightline.

Three C-17 Globemaster III aircraft stage for takeoff at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., Dec. 7, 2019. The 437th Airlift Wing staged at Pope to load the 82nd Airborne Division assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. The 437th AW supported exercise Joint Forcible Entry 19B by sending C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

Three people sit in the cockpit of an aircraft.

Capt. Nicholas Cox, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot instructor, and Capt. Jacob Nations, a C-17 Globemaster III co-pilot, both assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., conduct pre-flight checks at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., Dec. 7, 2019. The 16th AS staged at Pope to load the 82nd Airborne Division assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. The 437th Airlift Wing supported exercise Joint Forcible Entry 19B by sending three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

Two people simulate jumping out of an aircraft.

Capt. Monica Notzon, the 118th Military Police company commander assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., communicates with a jumpmaster and loadmaster over the Nevada Testing and Training Range, Dec. 7, 2019. The 118th MP company simulated static-line personnel drops while onboard a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The 437th AW supported exercise Joint Forcible Entry 19B by sending three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne Division and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

A person sits in the cockpit of an aircraft.

Capt. Nicholas Cox, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot instructor assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., conducts low-light airdrop operations over the Nevada Testing and Training Range, Dec. 7, 2019. The 16th AS supported exercise Joint Forcible Entry 19B by sending three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne Division and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

A vehicle is driven out of an aircraft onto a flightline.

Master Sgt. Robert Vanderzel, a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., loads high-mobility artillery rocket system vehicles at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 7, 2019. The 16th AS staged at Nellis AFB to load the HIMARS as part of the Joint Forcible Entry 19B exercise. The 437th Airlift Wing supported JFE 19B by sending three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne Division and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

A person provides direction to a vehicle driving out of an aircraft.

Master Sgt. Robert Vanderzel, a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., loads high-mobility artillery rocket system vehicles at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 7, 2019. The 16th AS staged at Nellis AFB to load the HIMARS as part of the Joint Forcible Entry 19B exercise. The 437th Airlift Wing supported JFE 19B by sending three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne Division and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

An aircraft flies in the sky.

A C-17 Globemaster III, assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing, flies over South Carolina, Dec. 7, 2019. The jet returned from exercise Joint Forcible Entry 19B. The 437th AW staged at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., to load the 82nd Airborne Division assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. The 437th AW supported JFE 19B by sending the three C-17 aircraft to the Nevada Testing and Training Range to conduct personnel airdrop operations with the 82nd Airborne and other air mobility units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Lance Valencia.)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (NAFB) --

Airmen from the 14th, 15th and 16th Airlift Squadrons at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, participated in the Joint Forcible Entry 19B exercise to practice interoperability operations with the U.S. Army and other aircraft platforms over the Nevada Testing and Training Range, Nevada, Dec. 6-8.

Three C-17’s from JB Charleston, along with three more C-17 Globemaster III’s and 17 C-130 Hercules, conducted nighttime airdrop operations for the airdrop element of the JFE exercise.

JFE 19B was the capstone event for the Combat Weapons Course run by the 57th Weapons School Squadron. Its main objective was to help the 82nd Airborne, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, take control over a certain plot of land or area from adversary forces, said Air Force Capt. Nicholas Cox, 16th Airlift Squadron pilot instructor.

“Think of the June 6th 1944 D-Day invasion,” said Cox. “We want to simulate that as far as us being able to push back the bad guys [by] dropping the 82nd Airborne. As soon as they get their own sustainment operations around, we’ll bring the air-land planes. They’ll land and continue on pushing back the enemy and taking control of that area.”

Cox added that the graduate-level weapons course takes pilots who are experts on their jets and turns them into a strategist who knows how to incorporate multiple aircraft platforms and other branches of services to execute a successful operation.

“The weapons school is the premiere course and graduate-level course to take pilots and tacticians to make them great strategists to be able to be advisors throughout the military level and the civilian leadership level,” he said. “In essence, every single weapons school graduate is, one, an expert in their plane but also, as we see here in the exercise, they know how to integrate with other platforms as well as other branches of the military.

“It’s important for the big air force,” Cox continued. “Not to say you can’t get the same level of knowledge that a weapons officer has and you can’t get it if you don’t go to the school house, that’s not the case at all, but this is six months dedicated to making you the best pilot, the best tactician, the best strategic planner that you can possibly be.”

This was the third time Cox has flown to support the JFE exercise; once as a copilot, once as an aircraft commander, and now as an instructor. The experience he got from participating in the weapons course capstone helped prepare him for when he starts the course as a student on January 6, 2020.

“It’s good to see the end product that eventually one day will be the capstone of my event,” he said. “So it’s great to take notes, learn and make mistakes so I can get those lessons learned and apply them in the future.”

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