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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Aug. 3, 2022

Oklahoma Guard units conduct airborne operations with Nebraska, Indiana

By Sgt. 1st Class Mireille Merilice, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT CHAFFEE, Arkansas —Tactical Air Control Party Specialists (TACPs) from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS), Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma City and jumpmasters with the 2nd Battalion 134th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Battalion Combat Team (IBCT), Nebraska, and a detachment in Indiana, who wear the “Thunderbird” patch of the 45th IBCT, Oklahoma Army National Guard, conducted static-line airborne operations at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center near Fort Smith, Arkansas, July 23, 2022.

The training, led by jumpmasters with the 134th Infantry Regiment, was the first collective training integration of Air and Army Guardsmen from Oklahoma, Nebraska and Indiana.

The alignment of the 134th Infantry Regiment gives the Oklahoma Army National Guard a force multiplier in airborne assets in addition to war-fighting capabilities from the 146th ASOS.

“It’s part of our race toward readiness,” said Lt. Col. Matthew York, commander, 134th Infantry Regiment. “The Army needs this capability in the event that we need to conduct an infiltration behind enemy lines.”

The airborne operation served multiple mission objectives to include military occupational specialty specific training requirements for each unit.

To maintain qualification as a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), TACPs are required to complete jumpmaster school.

“Being a JTAC, is a very unique [thing],” said Staff Sgt. Brock Williams, tactical air control party, 146th ASOS, 137th Special Operations Wing, Oklahoma Air National Guard. “It’s different to see up close an aircraft come in for an airstrike and to know that you provided targeting data, you controlled the aircraft, and you played a part in [the operation].”

More than 100 Air and Army Guardsmen jumped during the training event. Jumpmasters leading the training event focused on safety to ensure successful airborne operations.

“Once the paratrooper rigs their parachutes, the jumpmaster conducts his inspections to ensure the parachutes are worn properly,” said Staff Sgt. Brad Holloman with Company C, 134th Infantry Regiment, Indiana Army National Guard. “This is to ensure that once [the paratrooper] makes it out of the aircraft and comes under canopy, they have completed a successful airborne operation.”

Airborne training operations are a requirement to embed with Army airborne units.

“For my career field, airborne is required,” Williams said. “Part of our job is to be embedded with any unit that might need us and one of those units would be a traditional Army airborne unit.

The units will train again in the future to maintain mission readiness for future operations.
Video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck
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