Special Operations News

Wing helps SOCPAC make a splash in Guam

ANDERSEN, GUAM (Sine Pari, June 19, 2008) – On May 5, 15th Airlift wing C-17A crewmembers returned from an extremely successful training exercise with Navy Special Warfare Unit (NSWU-1), a component of Special Operations Command-Pacific (SOCPAC).

“Over the past two years, the two units have established a close working relationship that will prove vital if called upon to work together during contingency operations,” said Capt. Steven Nelson, NSWU-1 commander. “The NSWU-1/15 AW team provides USPACOM the capability to insert Special Ops Forces anywhere within its AOR, and can do it quickly and with great precision.”

Together, NSWU-1 and 15 AW can provide warfighting and rescue capabilities in hours, which would take days to deliver via other means.
“During the same two-year period, both groups have continued to strengthen their mutual bond, creating a working relationship that will prove pivotal if the two units are ever called to work together operationally,” he said.

Capt. Nelson said that during the week-long joint training exercise, aircrew from both the 15th Operations Support Squadron and 535th Airlift Squadron and maintenance personnel from the 15th Maintenance Group operated out of Andersen AFB, Guam, and conducted airdrops in and around the island in support of mission-essential training for both the 15 AW and NSWU-1.

“The primary focus of the training was to airdrop NSWU-1 ‘insertion’ boats,” he said. “The arrival of the C-17 to the 15 AW offers NSWU-1 the capability to transport these boats much longer distances quickly. More important, the C-17 gives these special operators the ability to drop two boats at once, from one aircraft.”

“This type of training is a boon for the 15 AW, as well,” he added. “Training with NSWU-1 provides Hickam
C-17 crews the opportunity obtain the qualification to airdrop boats.”

Captain Nelson pointed out that, during this week, one more crew was certified to conduct boat drop, and he predicted that given the great personal and professional working relationship with the members of NSWU-1, these numbers will continue to grow.

“It was an amazingly successful week for both groups,” he said. “[15 OSS’s] Captain Strickland and his crew were outstanding and we achieved some great training.”

Captain Nelson wasn’t the only commander happy with the operation. Col. Andy Hockam, 15th Oper-ations Group commander, saw the drop as a win-win for both services.

“The synergistic relationship between our two organizations continues to grow … to the benefit of our COCOM,” he said. “It’s good to hear that our professional teams have continued to foster this relationship by great planning and superb execution.”

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