MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Members of the 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron, Florida Air National Guard, packed up communications equipment onto a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., April 8, 2019, and departed for Finland to take part in Exercise Bold Quest.
“Bold Quest is an exercise where military and civilian members, developers and analysts work in a cooperative network with partner nations, finding technical and procedural solutions to improve coalition warfighting interoperability,” said Maj. Jarrett P. Virgil, 290th Joint Communications Support Element commander.
Though this exercise has become an annual event since its initial iteration in 2001, this year Bold Quest 19.1 is the first time the 290th JCSS has been tasked to participate.
JCSS provides rapidly deployable, en route, early entry and scalable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) services to a variety of mission partners in any environment.
“The 290th JCSS, Florida Air National Guard (FLARNG) was sourced to provide logistical support, force protection at entry control points, and communications support to the Joint Fires Division under the Joint Staff and Joint Deployable Analysis Team from Eglin AFB,” added Virgil. “As an Air National Guard squadron, it is a significant opportunity to exercise, train and build relationships in an environment with our coalition partners.”
Winning against adversaries requires a joint effort. To remain a lethal joint force, Bold Quest takes tactics, techniques, procedures and technologies of coalition partners and U.S. forces, puts them to the test and forces them to work through real-world challenges.
These geographically distant units, however, have the ability to unite thanks to mobility Airmen who work tirelessly to get boots off the ground.
“The 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron was instrumental in helping us coordinate our cargo inspection, out-processing and loading for our movement out of MacDill,” praised Virgil.
In addition to help from the 6th LRS, the 183rd Airlift Squadron from Mississippi Air National Guard, Jackson, Mississippi, flew in their C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to pick up the Bold Quest teams.
“It feels great to be able to support so many other units,” said Maj. Natasha Blankenship, 183rd AS pilot. “I think it adds value to our jobs and in turn that’s why we all do it. Wherever we are needed, there we are.”
Exercises such as Bold Quest allow the U.S. and our allies to not only thrive and succeed, but when combined with unmatched airlift support, operate anywhere, at any time.