Local

March 7, 2014

Arizona Soldiers, U.S. CBP unite to secure border hot spot

Staff Sgt. Joaquin Lopez (left) and Staff Sgt. Ruben Cruz, Arizona Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 2220th Transportation Company in Tucson, offload concrete barriers in Naco near the Arizona-Mexico border, March 1. The Soldiers partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to deliver the barriers from El Centro, Calif., to shore up security measures while accomplishing some much-needed training for convoy operations.

As overseas contingencies and deployments for U.S. armed forces taper off, Arizona’s Citizen Soldiers are shifting their focus to domestic missions to gain real-world experience and maintain readiness.

The Arizona Army National Guard’s Tucson-based 2220th Transportation Company found a creative way to hone their skills and help secure the Arizona-Mexico border in the process. Working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the light-medium truck company moved 193 tons of concrete barriers from El Centro, Calif., to Naco, Ariz., over drill weekend March 1 to fortify a porous section of the state’s border.

Army Guard and Customs officials called the convoy operation a success and said it was a model for future inter-agency coordination.

“We’ve been working on a solution for getting that border infrastructure into place in Naco for quite some time,” said Manuel Padila, Jr., the chief patrol agent for the Tucson sector. “When the Guard saw this as a training opportunity it became a win-win situation for everyone. This certainly highlights the long-standing partnership we’ve had with the Guard and it points to new ways we can work together.”

Where once a fence line was the only impediment for vehicles looking to illegally breach the border at Naco, now a robust barricade denies ease of entry.

In all, the Guard delivered 115 cement blocks – 15 more than originally requested by CBP. In a matter of days, 52 Arizona Guardsmen mobilized 26 vehicles to transport the load over 400 miles.

“We used every section in the company to support the mission,” said Army Capt. Janek Kaslikowski, the company commander. “We have an operations section that planned the mission – estimated fuel, rest stops, and driver changes – and a maintenance section that kept us running. Our Soldiers received invaluable experience with securing a load, off loading, vehicle recovery, and the importance of preventive maintenance checks and services.”

According to Kaslikowski, the mission was the perfect vehicle for bridging the gaps in experience between his junior Soldiers and his combat-tested senior non-commissioned officers.

“It was interesting to see them work together on this mission because this is exactly what we would do in theater,” he said. “The NCOs led this mission and gave the junior Soldiers plenty of opportunity to gain experience that they may not get without deploying.”

“We paired experienced drivers with inexperienced drivers,” said Army 2nd Lt. Sha-raya Harris, first platoon leader on her third drill with the Guard. “I was one of the inexperienced drivers.”

Some of the most junior motor transport operators in the company had only 10 minutes behind the wheel from initial training, said Harris. Now they all have seven-to-eight hours of experience negotiating turns, hills, and stops with 16 tons in tow.

“It was great training, but I think this mission was equally important for building relationships. Everywhere we went people supported us. Border Protection employees, the ranchers in Naco, even other drivers on the Interstate – everyone found this mission interesting and wanted to help us along the way,” said Harris.




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


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

Thunderbolt bounces back after belly landingThunderbolt bounces back after belly landing

On the evening of Sept. 30, an A-10 stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was coming back to base for a routine landing after completing a standard sortie. Just when everything seemed to be going as planned, disaster struck...
 
 
Richardson_pict

Down and out at Dyess: Air Force Assistance Fund to the rescue

It was scary, leaving home and joining an organization such as the United States Air Force. The people, job, and location were all brand new. When I joined the military, I came from a less than honorable home life.  I come fro...
 
 

SrA and below EPR static closeout date to be March 31

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Enlisted evaluation and promotion changes, announced in July, continue with establishment of a March 31 enlisted performance report static closeout date (SCOD) for Regular Air Force (RegAF) senior airmen and below, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Dec. 5. Additionally, change of reporting official evaluations (CRO) have been...
 

 

Keep holiday sweet tooth in check

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Assorted sweets are a big attraction on display in stores and are advertised in television commercials. Despite the effort to escape purchasing them and knowing they’re not healthy, people still tend to crave, buy and gobble them up. On top of the negative impact these treats have on health...
 
 

Master sergeant evaluation board, SNCO promotion changes coming

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force continues the phased implementation of its Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) changes with the convening of a master sergeant evaluation board scheduled for May 2015. Evaluation and promotion system changes, scheduled for implementation over the next 16 months for active-duty Airmen, are focused on ensuring job perfor...
 
 

Davis-Monthan EOD detonates WW-II era mortar at Fort Huachuca

An explosive ordnance disposal team from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, safely detonated a World War II-era 81mm mortar on Tuesday at 10:43 a.m. in Area H, Slaughterhouse Wash, at the end of the Libby Army Airfield runway on Fort Huachuca. A rider on horseback reported a sighting of the unexploded ordnance to fort personnel...
 




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