Large Package Week (LPW)
Large Package Week is a quarterly training exercise [other reports say is held about 10 times a year] designed to build cohesiveness between the 82nd Airborne and Air Mobility Command units. Large Package Week provides team members with training in large formation flying as well as a chance to hone their air drop skills of Army paratroopers and heavy equipment. The exercise also gives several Army units at Fort Bragg, NC, a chance to hone the skills of the Division Ready Brigade to respond on a moment's notice in the event of a real contingency as well as practice inserting a large number of troops.For the Army, the exercise gives them a chance to get a lot "chutes" and serves as an excellent opportunity to prove their readiness.
Large Package Week [LPW] is a joint Army and Air Force preparation exercise for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. The exercise culminates the 82nd Airborne's intensive training cycle, which prepares one brigade, designated the division-ready brigade, to go on 24-hour standby for deployment. Large Package Week is a joint Army and Air Force training exercise held several times a year to practice large-scale airdrop missions for personnel and equipment.
Large Package Week (LPW) is a training exercise specifically designed to continuously improve our joint airborne war-fighting capability. Additionally, LPW is used to validate the combat readiness of leadership, planning staff, and aircrews through the employment of theater combat aerial delivery doctrine. Air Force Mission Commanders (AFMCs) use LPW to train themselves, their staffs, and the crews to operate effectively in the joint arena, using many forms of tactical employment. LPW is scheduled to coincide with the Army's 8-week brigade training cycle, and is used by their leadership to validate the combat readiness of their Strategic Brigade (the next in line for national alert).
Training requirements include establishing secure communications between all units involved and accomplishing a 90 percent delivery rate of all airdrop loads. Typically, the 82nd likes to jump in a brigade-sized force -- almost 700 and almost 900 (paratroopers) on the two nights to get them ready. That's the way they want to employ, so we have to be ready to do it that way. The Air Force melds training requirements with the 82nd into a training scenario to benefit both. Each year the Army has six or more LPWs, with Charleston AFB taking the lead on two of them.
Large Package Week (LPW) is a training exercise specifically designed to continuously improve our joint airborne war-fighting capability. Additionally, LPW is used to validate the combat readiness of leadership, planning staff, and aircrews through the employment of theater combat aerial delivery doctrine. Air Force Mission Commanders (AFMCs) should use LPW to train themselves, their staffs, and the crews to operate effectively in the joint arena, using many forms of tactical employment. LPW is scheduled to coincide with the Army's 8-week brigade training cycle, and is used by their leadership to validate the combat readiness of their Strategic Brigade (the next in line for national alert). Normally, 6 C-17 and 5 C-130 equivalents should be dedicated to LPW. One spare should be planned if available.
Although each LPW provides the airlift for the 82d Airborne Division's Readiness Brigade Intensive Training Cycle, the AFMC should consider enhancing training and inter-wing cooperation through the use of non-AMC assets (i.e., J-STARS, AWACS, CAS, etc.). Airland missions should be scheduled to increase realism in the joint operation, including assault landing zone (ALZ) operations for participating C-17s and C-130s. Tactical deception plans, fighter aircraft and airborne command and control platforms may be used to provide realism to the exercise. Non-AMC assets need to be coordinated as far in advance as possible, thus an initial joint planning conference should be planned prior to the JA/ATT conference in which airlift assets are assigned.
The overall Air Force objective for LPW is to provide the airlift capability to the 82d Airborne Division's 8-week brigade training cycle exercise while at the same time preparing mobility forces for joint airborne war-fighting operations. Operations will be accomplished using current combat aerial delivery doctrine and instructions. Mission Commanders accomplish appropriate planning and execution to ensure the training objectives of both the Air Force and Army are met.
Participating in the October 1999 Large Package Week were four C-17s and two C- 141s from Charleston. Joining the exercise were three C-141s from McGuire AFB, N.J., one C-141 from McChord AFB, Wash., three C-130s from Little Rock AFB, Ark., and another C-130 from Dyess AFB, Texas. Charleston was designated as lead wing. The Charleston contingent consisted of 45 maintainers, 6 aircrews, tactics, intelligence, weather, and other support staff. They dropped 2,500 soldiers plus another 700 at the post mission drops at Geronimo landing zone near Fort Polk, LA.
Additional missions, as part of the Joint Readiness Training Exercise at Fort Polk, gave C-17 aircrews practice landing on an austere landing strip while the C-141s also dropped personnel. On the first and last day of the drops on Oct. 4 and 7, C-17 aircrews dropped heavy equipment such as HUMVEEs, towed artillery and ammunition. C-141s immediately air-dropped soldiers to set up and use the heavy equipment following the C-17s. Oct. 5-6, the scenario was exactly the same for both days as they put on a demonstration for the general officers attending the CAPSTONE orientation course, a six week course that introduces senior officers to the capabilities that each of the services possesses.
The demonstration included two A-10 Thunderbolts that swept the area, followed by a C-17 that dropped a Container Delivery System pallets of supplies and three others that dropped heavy equipment items such as howitzers and vehicles. Lastly, the C-141s dropped the soldiers who then executed their mission of an airfield seizure. The C-130s airdropped and airlanded CAPSTONE participants. Within about a half an hour, the Army is required to set up and live fire their airdropped howitzers.
Troops conducted an aerial assault onto the drop zone on Ft Polk, LA, on April 5, 2000. The exercise, called Large Package Week, involved the airdropping of 1,200 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne and their heavy equipment onto the drop zone.
Soldiers from the Army's 82nd Airborne exit out of Air Force C-141B Starlifters over the Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg, NC, on Nov. 3, 2000. The jumpers were among the 5,000 82nd Airborne troops taking part in an aerial assault exercise called Large Package Week. The quarterly training exercise sharpens the airdrop capability of aircrews from the Air Mobility Command and the 82nd Airborne.
Six C-17 Globemaster III's carried Charleston Air Force Base aircrews and maintainers to Large Package Week at Pope AFB, N.C., in January 2001. Another seven C-17s participated during LPW, which is one of the largest airdrop exercises in the United States. Several months of planning went into Charleston's role during LPW to ensure the maximum amount of training could be accomplished for Army and Air Force personnel. The final day of the exercise was the most active day for the Charleston airmen. First, a special operations low-level equipped C-17 performed an airdrop of special forces. Then, three C-17s flew to Savannah, Ga., to retrieve missile launcher equipment. During their trip to bring back equipment, the planes went through simulated surface-to-air missile controlled airspace, learning to react to hostile threats from the ground. During this training event, six aircraft brought a total of 600 Army personnel to the drop zone, while another three C-17s brought in "heavy loads," such as howitzers and other equipment used to defend an airfield. Just before the aircraft began converging on the target area, they practiced formation refueling with tanker aircraft. All aircraft came on target for the drop zone within moments of one another, complete with simulated live fire on the ground.
Aircrews and maintainers from Charleston AFB teamed up 13-21 July 2002 with their counterparts from McChord AFB, Wash., Pope AFB, NC, and Dyess AFB, Texas, during Large Package Week at Pope AFB. The scenario for LPW was to drop troops in to seize an airfield, then airdrop the Army's light airfield repair package to repair the runway and regain operations on the airfield. Once the LARP cleared the way for air- land operations, C-17s brought in the Immediate Ready Company of the 3rd Infantry at Fort Stewart, Ga., and its heavy airfield repair equipment, which included heavy graders, minefield detection and removal equipment, and armored personnel carriers. All of this was done on a dirt runway. They went back in after it was over, picked up the heavy package, and flew it back to Fort Stewart (Ga.). On one plane there was about 100,000 pounds of payload, and they made it out of a 4,000- foot dirt runway. The C-17 was without all- weather formation capability due to a long-term equipment deficiency. Boeing engineers fixed the problem, resulting in the ability to put more aircraft across the drop zone in a tighter formation. That expedited the build up of combat power on the ground. That was one goal, to get the station keeping equipment back online for the C-17. All told, C-17s dropped 2,651 paratroopers and 135 tons of Army equipment and ammunition during LPW.
In May 2004 the Large Package Week exercises showed the vital role bluesuiters play in joint operations to help Soldiers bring the fight to the enemy. A US Air Force C-130 Hercules passed overhead and green parachutes dotted the evening sky above nearby Fort Bragg on May 11. Eight seconds later, the first Soldiers from the Army's 18th Airborne Corps charged across the ground launching a simulated airfield assault. Aircraft involved in the week's exercises were four C-130 Hercules from here, and six from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., as well as two C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Charleston AFB, S.C., and McChord AFB, Wash. Together they dropped equipment and about 800 paratroopers.
Airmen and Soldiers train together during the exercises which are designed to help prepare the 82nd Airborne Division's incoming Ready Brigade. Sergeant Harriman said the Ready Division Soldiers are typically on alert for six weeks and must be capable of deploying anywhere to conduct combat operations within 18 hours. The majority of training occurs at night because that is when Soldiers typically go into battle. Night operations lessen the threat of exposure and also increase the element of surprise against enemy targets.
Airmen are vital to the 82nd's capabilities to perform its mission. The Air Force role is critical when a crisis breaks because the airlifters get the 82nd Airborne's Ready Brigade where it needs to go. Along with actual airlift missions, Airmen must also manage and maintain all participating aircraft. Roughly 90 maintainers from the 743rd AMXS take part in the training, and they prepare the "packages," which include equipment like military vehicles.
Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 06-03
Four services came together 27 February through 03 March 2006 to drop about 2,700 82nd Airborne paratroopers and several loads of equipment into a simulated war zone on Fort Bragg for the Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 06-03. This group of assets was put together at Pope Air Force Base. Despite one pass that was cancelled due to weather, the entire week ran smoothly.
The Joint Forcible Entry Exercise is formally known as Large Package Week. Large Package Week's original purpose was much simpler than the Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 06-03. The mass drop allowed troops from the new alert brigade to test their skill and troops from the brigade coming off of alert to get currency.
The mass drop evolved into the exercise in the summer of 2005 to incorporate more advance training involving ground tactical plans and airfield seizure. It was decided to make it a real plan just like when we go to war. This is done by incorporating a wide array of assets and services from across the Department of Defense. The Air Force provided C-130s, C-17s and A-10s, the Marines flew F-18s, the Navy flew P-3s and the Army controlled unmanned aerial vehicles. Pope's 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron worked an air-land mission, which required them to set up a triage and simulate bringing patients back to Pope, and a joint airborne communications center, or "Jackpot," flew in a C-130 throughout the week. The Army also operated a Joint Operations Center for the first time out of Fort Bragg.
The information flow, joint decision-making and timeliness of the decisions because of the direct link to the Army through the Joint Operations Center helped the exercise run smoothly. Timely and accurate decision allow time for other responses as required to support the operation. Soldiers can shoot while they are moving.
The exercise would not have run as smoothly without the support of Air Force and Army leadership. They put an emphasis on the training and let competing requirements for the Soldiers, Airmen, maintainers, flyers, aircraft and Hummers to take a back seat for one week, said Colonel Lockard. The current high operations tempo and lack of available airlift made training like this even more valuable. Training in a controlled, true joint environment, where players can plan, execute and debrief lessons learned is few and far between.
At home Air Force units only get to drop sand bags and timber. Here they got to drop actual heavy equipment and personnel. To compress all that into one week is incredible. Units don't get those opportunities in the current environment very often. This kind of training leads to more than just technical skill. Players also have the chance to build lasting relationships.
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