Dobbins Airmen participate in USMC Raven Exercise

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  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 94th Airlift Wing joined with forces from the Air National Guard, Air Force Special Operations Command, Marine Forces Special Operations Command and more to execute Exercise Raven around Gulfport, Miss., from Nov. 4-13, 2023. 

Raven is a U.S. Marine Corps company-level unit readiness exercise designed to evaluate individual’s and unit’s abilities to deploy and encourage interoperability between U.S. Special Operations Command and conventional forces.

Twenty-eight U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 94th Airlift Wing participated in the exercise, conducting flying missions throughout southern Mississippi. Air crews had an opportunity to certify and implement tactical drop zones, a first-ever opportunity for both of the 94th AW crews involved. The flying crews also conducted dissimilar aircraft inter-fly and airdrop operations over the tactical drop zones, a skill most Airmen are unable to practice on a regular basis.

“Practice is one of the best ways we can train,” said Capt. Will Jones, 94th Operations Support Squadron tactics officer and pilot. “When we have an opportunity to train alongside our sister service members, that adds an additional human element which solidifies procedures, identifies best practices and ultimately makes our training more applicable to real-world situations for everyone.”

Participants also had the opportunity to hone their tactics, techniques and procedures execution skills and learn special cargo training such as loading non-standard vehicles and rapid onload and offloading of vehicles and equipment.

“I understand the importance of doing my job properly every day I get to turn a wrench [on an aircraft],” said Senior Airman Jacob Lanier, 94th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “The training I’ve received helps me maintain a high attention to detail in order to generate reliable combat effective aircraft ready to engage in the defense of our nation. Advanced training and interoperability skills like we were able to practice in Mississippi enhanced those skills even more.”

Joint exercises like Raven help participating forces enhance unit and individual readiness, enable innovation and encourage interoperability in various types of environments.

“The Raven exercise was an excellent experience and exceeded expectations in every way,” said Maj. Latessa Meader, Raven Detachment Commander and 700th Airlift Squadron pilot. “The training our Airmen received – from learning new procedures, to improving our readiness and interoperability – will prove invaluable on real-world deployments. As with most things in life, what you get out of an experience is proportional to what you put in, and I cannot say enough about how amazing the entire Raven cadre was.”