DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
The 563rd Rescue Group conducted their inaugural total force parachute jump training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Jan. 29, 2021.
Airmen from the 48th, 68th and 79th Rescue Squadrons, as well as the Air Force Reserve’s 306th Rescue Squadron participated in the jumps with the help of the 563rd Operations Support Squadron, who handled the complex task of coordinating the jumps.
“This operation required a coordinated effort across the 563rd Rescue Group,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Chad Sufficool, 79th RQS pilot. The 48th, 68th, 306th, and 79th were able to safely accomplish their training and strengthen their operational ties. Meanwhile the 563rd OSS enabled the operation by coordinating with our tower, Tucson International Airport and other base leaders to provide the necessary airspace clearance. OSS personnel also make up our parachute riggers, ground party, and medical staff that are key to successful jump ops.”
These jumps are the first part of an effort to move their training on base to save time, money and maximize the effectiveness and impact of training. Other established drop zones require competition with civilian operations and time/distance problems for support troops.
“Conducting more jumps on base, on a consistent and predictable basis, makes our operations much more efficient and improves the proficiency and safety of our jumpers,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Dyrud, 68th RQS director of operations. “Jumping more often improves everyone’s readiness. In addition to taking advantage of more training days, conducting monthly personnel drops on base allows for more jumps in a day since the airfield is ideal for quick turns. Aircrew and jumpmasters become more familiar with each other’s procedures, communication between all members improves and jumpers become safer in freefall and under canopy.”
The change in training exemplifies how the 563rd RQG is training to help the 355th Wing stay ready for today’s fight, while innovating for the future.
“This training represents how the 355th Wing operates as a truly integrated team,” Dyrud said. “By combining and de-conflicting operations between Guardian Angel, HC-130J [Combat King IIs], A-10 [Thunderbolt IIs] and multiple support squadrons, we see the Desert Lightning Team approaching its full potential.”
Airmen of the 355th Wing are taking the charge of the wing commander to develop readiness and relationships. They are getting after this by using newer, more effective training methods, and by integrating other units, to include the Air Force Reserves, to develop the entire force to the level of high-end readiness that is required by the Air Force and Department of Defense.