World

August 3, 2012

Theater Operations Group lends a hand in our backyard

Senior Airman Brittany Dowdle
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs

U. S. Southern Command is a joint and interagency organization supporting the United States national security interests, and with our partners, fostering security, stability, and prosperity in the Americas. The 612th Theater Operations Group plays a vital role in supporting the Air Forces Southern mission in numerous areas of responsibility.

Col. Jonathan VanNoord, 612th TOG commander, has the unique challenge of playing a dual-hat role. He is not only the commander for the TOG, but he is also, the 474th Air Expeditionary Group commander. Both groups support AFSOUTH missions in SOUTHCOM AOR.

The 612th Theater Operations Group has permanent party members stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, Curacao, Colombia, and Puerto Rico. The 474th AEG has an entire expeditionary squadron in Guantanamo Bay and members also assigned in Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Curacao. Currently an expeditionary RED HORSE squadron is also assigned to the 474th AEG supporting New Horizons 2012 in Peru, an annual series of joint humanitarian assistance exercises that U.S. Southern Command conducts with Latin American and Caribbean nations. These exercises improve joint training readiness of U.S. Engineer, Medical, and Combat Service Support units through humanitarian assistance activities. Each squadron is different but they all support AFSOUTH by supporting units in the AOR in counter drug operations, military commissions, C-130 flying missions and airfield operations.

“We are in a supporting role,” VanNoord said. “We support many different missions, but the most known mission is the counter drug operations. It’s very important to support these operations because this is a war that is being fought in our back yard. We don’t want drugs coming into our country and destroying our country, which is a battle we fight every single day.”

There are currently 740 individuals, across nine squadrons, assigned to the 612th TOG and the 474th AEG downrange in the USSOUTHCOM AOR. The individuals that are assigned to the 612th TOG but live in the AOR are D-M entities so they are supported operationally by 12th AF (AFSOUTH) and personally by base agencies.

“At the group level we provide the life line to all of our geographically separated units that are located throughout the AOR,” said Chief Master Sgt. April Spiczka, 612th TOG group superintendent. “A lot of them are stand-alone units with no base support. They need the support from the 355th Fighter Wing for things that we take for granted everyday by being on a standard air force base. They are the ones on the front lines fighting illegal trafficking, we are here to support them and provide them with what they require to do their job.”

A unique challenge that leadership of the 612th TOG and the 474th AEG faces is that they only have one support squadron stationed at D-M, all of their other personnel are in other geographical locations.

“We are unique because we can’t just walk down the street to see our squadrons,” VanNoord said. “We have to travel to go see them, to identify their living conditions, what resources they have to get their mission done, and so they can know who their leadership is. It’s a challenge because each unit is separated from another unit, and it’s sometimes hard to educate each squadron on what the rest of the group is involved in.”

Members of leadership are able to travel every few months to visit their personnel in the Caribbean and Central and South America. They are able to maintain visibility of the individual squadrons in their group and how they are supporting the mission.

Units assigned to the TOG also help in construction of schools, clinics and playgrounds in support of AFSOUTH operations.

“Last year during New Horizons 2011 in Suriname, we visited a ribbon cutting ceremony for a playground, just a standard playground that you would see in any neighborhood in the United States, but it was like Disney Land for the local youth,” Spiczka said. “When they cut the ribbon, the kids cheered and ran to the playground. It was amazing to be able to push the excited kids on the swings and help them across the monkey bars. It really brought home why we’re doing what we’re doing down there.”

Col. VanNoord wanted to personally thank the units on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for the support they provide the units downrange.

“I want to thank all the different units for their support to our Airmen that are downrange,” VanNoord said. “We’ve all been downrange and we know that sometimes it’s tough to get that support, but the support we get from D-M is very important to all of our Airmen.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Guard Muster brings Arizona together

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour) Arizona National Guard Soldiers from the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade stand in formation on the field at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium, Dec. 7 in Tempe. The formation, which was part of the Arizona National Guard Muster and Community Expo, was the first...
 
 
NORAD_pict

NORAD prepares to track Santa’s flight

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command’s NORAD Tracks Santa website, http://www.noradsanta.org, launched Dec. 1, featuring a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games a...
 
 

Air Force not planning Involuntary Force Reductions in 2015

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – The modern Air Force is “feeling some strain” recently, due to its shrinking size and high operations tempo, but there won’t be any more involuntary force-shaping in 2015, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said today. James said she and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark...
 

 

Local Briefs December 19, 2014

NARFE chapter 55 to meet January 12, 11 a.m. – Golden Corral The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Association, Chapter 55, will hold their next monthly luncheon meeting on Monday January 12, 2015 at the Golden Corral, 4380 East 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711.  The luncheon starts at 11 a.m. and ends about...
 
 

New Commander addresses Airmen of 12th Air Force

To all of the 12th Air Force Community, Happy Holidays! My wife Kristan, my three children, and I are excited to join this outstanding 12th AF community.  I cannot adequately express how honored and humbled I feel to join this community as the Commander.   I certainly appreciate the exceptional efforts of General and Mrs....
 
 
(AFSOUTH)

New commander to take reins of 12th AF, AFSOUTH

Twelfth Air Force and Air Forces Southern will welcome a new commander during a change of command ceremony Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Major Gen. Chris Nowland will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin