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CASPER the friendly, multi-capable team

Airman sitting on an aircraft as cargo drops over edge.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kieran Durden, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, releases cargo from the back of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft over Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. A team of multi-capable Airmen (MCA) from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, exercised skillsets outside their career fields to support airdrop operations during a Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Pilots sitting in the cockpit of an aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Dylan Neidorff, left, and Maj. Ian VanBergen, 37th Airlift Squadron pilots, celebrate a successful cargo airdrop from a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft over Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. The airdrop training was part of the 86th Airlift Wing’s new Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program, created to enable Agile Combat Employment operations at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Silhouette of Airman kneeling on an aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kieran Durden, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, prepares to release a second cargo load from a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft over Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. Multi-capable Airmen (MCA) assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, coordinated cargo airdrops with flight crew during a Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Airmen securing a platform next to a forklift.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eric Dafforn, 86th Operations Support Squadron Air Traffic Control watch supervisor, left, and 1st Lt. Miolani Grenier, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance capabilities and development deputy chief, right, set up a combat offload, while Senior Airman Jordan Bybee, 86th OSS intelligence analyst, operates a 10K forklift at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. A team of multi-capable Airmen (MCA) assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, used skills they’ve learned in the Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program to coordinate airdrops, recover cargo and perform combat offloads. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Airmen holding a parachute line.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Hale, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial delivery supervisor, right, trains 1st Lt. Bridgett Wall, 86th Operations Support Squadron intelligence officer, left, and Senior Airman Jordan Bybee, 86th OSS intelligence analyst, on aerial delivery recovery at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. As part of the new Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, multi-capable Airmen trained on skills outside of their primary duties to support active drop zone and landing zone operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Close-up of hands holding a parachute line.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Bridgett Wall, 86th Operations Support Squadron intelligence officer, trains on aerial delivery recovery at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. Wall, a member of the new Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, trained on airdrop cargo recovery operations, while still supporting primary intelligence duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Airman holding wind measuring instrument.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Miolani Grenier, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance capabilities and development deputy chief, calibrates a wind anemometer at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. As part of the new Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Airmen from intelligence, weather, Ground Controlled Approach and Air Traffic Control trained on skills outside of their primary duties to support active drop zone and landing zone operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Close-up of hands holding radio.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Miolani Grenier, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance capabilities and development deputy chief, performs a radio check at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. Multi-capable Airmen (MCA) assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, received drop zone control officer and landing zone safety officer training as part of the new Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

Airmen standing on a hill, looking at a plane in the distance.

U.S. Air Force Airmen selected for the 86th Airlift Wing’s Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program observe airdrop operations at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021. The program was created to enable Agile Combat Employment operations out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, through the use of multi-capable Airmen (MCA). (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John R. Wright)

CHIÈVRES AIR BASE, Belgium --

A team of multi-capable Airmen (MCA) from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, exercised skillsets outside their career fields to support airdrop operations during a training at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, March 29, 2021.

The training was part of the 86th Airlift Wing’s new Cross-Functional Airlift Support Personnel (CASPER) program, created to enable Agile Combat Employment operations at Ramstein.

“CASPER, or any implementation of MCA, is critical in ensuring any wing mission set can forward deploy or mobilize, as required, with the minimum amount of personnel and resources, while still delivering desired effects to the respective combatant commander,” said Maj. Jon Cordell, 86th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations.

The team used skills they’ve learned in the CASPER program to coordinate airdrops, recover cargo with adverse terrain 10K forklifts, perform combat offloads and load cargo for return to Ramstein.

“Today the team is receiving drop zone control officer training and landing zone safety officer training,” Cordell said. “The team is learning how to posture a forward operating base for aerial resupply and air-land resupply.”

Made up of three intelligence Airmen, one weather Airman and one dual-rated Ground Controlled Approach and Air Traffic Control Airman, the MCA team was selected for CASPER after members submitted nomination packages and met with an interview panel.

“As a result of the program, we will have personnel from various career fields all able to support a port operation and organically resupply a FOB,” Cordell said. “Where we were usually reliant on aircrew and various personnel in place at different destinations, we can now bring a small group of CASPER Airmen and completely self-sustain for a given number of days before needing more specialized support.”

While the cross-functional aspect of the training covered calling in airdrops to an active drop zone and immediately transitioning to landing zone operations, CASPER Airmen were still expected to perform their primary duties.

“Before the crews take off, we are giving them intel and weather briefs for a scenario that we created,” said 1st Lt. Bridgett Wall, 86th OSS intelligence officer. “We’re testing out how well we can still support on our primary job, while still being able to support in other respects outside of our usual daily ops, which in this case has been drop zone controller, landing zone safety officer and combat offload method-B.”

The initial class of Airmen selected for CASPER trained in a total of 20 events over a 30-day training period.

“Up to this point we’ve had a lot of static training events and classroom instruction,” Cordell said. “Seeing their hard work all come together to support an operation like this is not only a lot of fun, but validates a lot of the training they’ve undergone.”

After declaring initial operational capability, the CASPER program is slated to open up to more Airmen from across the wing and installation.

“The training that we’ve gotten has definitely applied to what we’re doing here at Chièvres in almost a culmination-like capstone,” Wall said. “The team has formed into a pretty tight-knit group. We all work well together. We all have our strengths and weaknesses based on our prior experience. Seeing that all come together is really cool, and I’m happy to be part of it.”