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Fort Sill trains with the Air Force's Globemaster

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ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla._Soldiers from Fort Sill and airmen from Altus Air Force Base trained together for an emergency deployment readiness exercise.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment got back in January from their nine-month deployment to the United Arab Emirates. With the deployment behind them, it was time to get back to training where they practiced loading vehicles, including a light multiple rocket launcher, or HIMARS, onto the Air Force's C-17 "Globemaster."

Even though Fort Sill and Altus Air Force Base are only an hour away from each other, it's rare when they can come together and train. Army officials said this training will let them know where they stand on their combat readiness to deploy to hazardous areas.

"I was pretty nervous driving the vehicle on the plane," said Staff Sgt. Kevon Isabell.

It's the first time Isabell has driven any vehicle, much less backing one up, onto the Globemaster cargo plane.

"It's a pretty tedious job. You know you really got to be on the ball as far as getting it onto the plane. We only had an inch to play with," said Staff Sgt. Isabell.

He wasn't doing it alone, but rather with a team of airmen and soldiers giving him clear and precise directions through hand signals. It's this teamwork, he says, that is important on any joint service operation.

"Not only does it allow us to see their capabilities as far as their aircraft, but allows them to see our capabilities and if you put those two together it makes us that much more of a lethal package," said Staff Sgt. Isabell.

There is barely any room left on the plane after the vehicles are secured. After the training they off load and let others soldiers, many of them first-timers too, get the experience they may need in the future.

"You know it constantly keeps us postured to do our mission, to be able to deploy anywhere in the world. You know, being able to provide accurate, precise fires anywhere in the world," said Capt. Rob Myers.

Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel John Maddaloni says that with the base in Altus only an hour away, his unit is lucky to get to do this kind of training.

"We train for this, we have other mock ups that we use at Fort Sill to get soldiers used to being able to drive into a really confine space. But, to do it here, to replicate that, you can't do it, just coming to here to Altus, for us is like the super bowl," said Lt. Col. Maddaloni.

Now with experience, these soldiers are better prepared in case they are called to serve.

"I believe we'd be ready to go. If the bell called we would be ready to go," said Staff Sgt. Isabell.

Lieutenant Colonel Maddaloni says he hopes to do training like this more often, and that training and working with the air force today, really shows the teamwork between the military branches.

 

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