Deployment by Air
Air movement operations involve the air transportation of units, personnel, supplies, and equipment. They include--
- Airland operations.
- Airborne operations.
- Air assaults.
Air movements also cover related tactical and administrative movements. A movement by other modes of transportation may precede or follow air movement.
An air movement operation requires that planners integrate forces properly. Any combination of forces conduct air movements. The operations may include a unified command, a subordinate unified command, a joint task force, or a uniservice commitment. Planning includes providing forces to support the staging and outloading of the airlifted force. Continuous coordination among the transported units, the transporting units, and supporting activities is necessary.
A unit air movement requires careful planning. Plans cover loads, selection of equipment, and processing of personnel. They detail --
- Marshaling of transported units.
- Airfield reception.
- Outloading procedures.
- Reception and disposition of forces at the off-load airfield.
These tasks are the responsibility of several elements. They include the transported unit, its parent organization or installation or base, the DACG, the AACG, and the Air Force airlift control element.
The home station installation coordinates with the installation transportation officer or traffic management office. They plan the physical movement of the units. They ensure that each element sets up a unit assembly or mobility processing area. Each element also provides liaison to the DACG/AACG well before the unit arrives. FM 55-12 details unit moves.
The major command of the LID scheduled for movement by Air Force aircraft is responsible for providing the DACG. The unit's parent organization or home station installation or base commander provides the personnel and equipment for the DACG. Details on DACG operations are in FM 55-12. Briefly, however, the DACG --
- Receives, inventories, and controls aircraft loads as they arrive at the alert holding area.
- Conducts initial inspection of loads.
- Ensures orderly move of load to call forward area.
- Establishes communications with deploying unit and ALCE.
- Conducts joint inspection with ALCE.
- Ensures that personnel correct discrepancies.
- Ensures that passenger/cargo manifests are correct.
- Compiles statistical data.
- Transfers control of load to ALCE at loading ramp area.
The force commander involved in the air movement provides the AACG if assets for the function are not available at the arrival airfield. In such cases, the AACG is in the lead elements of the deploying units. The LID has only limited capability to perform a AACG mission. It requires EAD support. An airfield movement control team arrives early. It controls clearance. It maintains contact with units for pickup of equipment. It coordinates movements to storage sites with DISCOM transportation assets. Elements of a cargo transfer company also arrive early. They move supplies on the airhead and process cargo.
When the assets arrive depends on the security of the airfield. For an unsecured airfield, the first planeloads carry troops and rolling stocks. Troops conduct combat off-loads. With a more secure airfield, forklifts are on the back (nearest the ramp) of one of the first planeloads. They assist in off-loading planes and moving assets around the airfield.
Details on AACG operations are in FM 55-12. Major AACG responsibilities include the following:
- Coordinate with the ALCE and deploying unit.
- Accept control of load from ALCE at established release point.
- Assemble load and check for completeness.
- Provide fuel, oil, and minor maintenance for transport vehicles.
- Develop statistical data.
- Establish temporary storage area.
- Transfer control of load to deployed unit.
An ALCE supports an airlift operation. The Air Force is responsible for the airlift operation at airfields where military forces assemble for deployment or redeployment. When there is no ALCE, an equivalent military airlift command unit or mission support team is responsible. The ALCE has responsibility at the both the departure and arrival airfields.
Departure airfield duties include the following:
- Provide technical assistance for loading.
- Provide departure time to DACG.
- Conduct joint inspection and coordinate required changes with DACG.
- Provide passenger briefing guide, loading team chief, and passenger escort to the aircraft.
- Accept load from DACG at ready line.
- Maintain liaison with aircraft and DACG.
- Ensure that personnel properly place load aboard the aircraft.
Arrival airfield duties include the following:
- Receive manifests from the loadmaster.
- Provide load team chief.
- Coordinate removal of load.
- Maintain statistical data.
- Release load to AACG.
Upon arrival at the airhead, the organization of the lodgment begins. Critical problems arise at this point. Movement control of follow-on echelons into the lodgment overpower the MCO at the arrival airfield. Coordination of convoy movement within the lodgment security line is the responsibility of the brigade defending the security line. The MCO augments the brigade to coordinate convoy movements on the MSRs. Local security works when the DISCOM is operational. Until that time, the brigade provides security inside the security line. The key to controlling risk at this vulnerable phase of deployment is the close coordination among the DISCOM, the brigade controlling the lodgment, and the division G4. Together they work out the traffic flow from the airfield through lodgment to the security line forward to the brigade AOs.
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