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First 'Joint Task Force – Port Opening’ hits ground in Egypt

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EXERCISE BRIGHT STAR, EGYPT 05/06 (USTCNS) --- Sixty-five Airmen and Soldiers landed as a single unit at Jiyanklis Air Base, Egypt, Aug. 23 as part of the first Joint Task Force – Port Opening to participate in Exercise Bright Star 05/06.

U.S. Central Command's Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and special operations forces components, along with military forces from Egypt and twelve other nations, are participating in Bright Star 05/06, a joint/combined training exercise in Egypt.

The JTF-PO hit the ground running. Within minutes after landing, the joint team had secured its reach-back communication linkup to U.S. Transportation Command and later completed an air base assessment. Working through the first night setting up tents, a joint operations center, and all the necessary communications to get the air base on its feet, the JTF-PO accomplished one of its first exercise objectives.

Col. Lloyd B. Moon Jr., commander of the 816th Contingency Response Group, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., deployed as the first JTF-PO commander.

"It's quite an honor and quite a task," said Colonel Moon. "Combining the Air Force CRG and Army mobility assets is a great step forward for the Joint Task Force."

The purpose of Air Mobility Command's six CRGs is to rapidly deploy personnel and equipment to open air bases in a variety of locations in preparation for any follow-on missions, thereby expanding air expeditionary capabilities around the globe.

Capitalizing on the CRG concept of operations, USTRANSCOM is developing this new joint capability - the JTF-PO.. It is designed to combine specific Air Force, Army and Navy skills to provide the USTRANSCOM commander a joint capability to open and operate expeditionary ports of debarkation. By employing USTRANSCOM assigned forces, the geographic combatant commanders will gain a rapid, expeditionary capability to open the deployment and distribution network in their area of responsibility.

For Bright Star 05/06, Air Force and Army assets demonstrated a number of capabilities to include APOD clearance, onward movement responsibilities and establishment of in-transit visibility. As follow-on logistics forces arrive in the theater and become mission capable, the JTF-PO will transfer its mission responsibilities.

"This JTF-PO is a great concept, a long time coming," said Maj. Kenneth King, who is serving as deputy commander for Surface Operations. "It gives us a rapid deployment capability for opening a distribution node. Most important, we support the warfighter when he needs it the most - at the very beginning."

"With the JTF-PO, we are taking a concept and making it a reality," added Colonel Moon.

Bright Star 05/06 is the largest and most significant coalition military exercise conducted by U.S. Central Command. This exercise is an important part of U. S. Central Command's theater engagement strategy and is designed to improve readiness and interoperability and strengthen the military and professional relationships among U.S., Egyptian and participating forces.

Bright Star 05/06, the 12th in a series, is scheduled to take place Sept. 10 through Oct. 3, 2005.

The last Bright Star exercise conducted was in October of 2001. Bright Star was scheduled for 2003 but was canceled in view of continued operations in the Global War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere by the United States and other nations.

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