When a short-fall tasking came knocking on the door at Luke Air Force Base, there was a spot on a deployment that only one Airman could fill.
The 56th Fighter Wing headquarters’ Rock put its boots on the ground Nov. 2 with its fellow 56th Logistic Readiness Squadron teammates for a 72-hour deployment to a classified location somewhere in the Southwestern United States.
“We looked at the availability of the tasking and found that the Rock met the requirements to be a cornerstone for the forces,” said 2nd Lt. Jason Thomas, 56th LRS deployment distribution flight officer-in-charge.
Prior to setting out, the Rock had to out-process like any other mission-ready Airman deploying from Luke.
The Rock was fitted for a gas mask, received dog tags and took annual refresher courses. Because of the short deployment, there was no need for Combat Airman Skills Training. The Rock completed online training in the evening after fulfilling his responsibilities during the duty day.
Considering the weightiness of the decision to deploy the Rock, it was no easy task getting it to the forward operating base.
Highly skilled combat truckers from the 56th LRS transportation unit worked tirelessly to move the Rock.
During its tour in the undisclosed location, the Rock was the keystone for operations at its FOB.
“It not only provided unyielding ground to stand on, it was a solid morale booster,” said Lt. Michael Harrison, 56th LRS assistant installation deployment officer.
After the Rock returned to Luke, it once again took up its three-fold mission of providing security for the 56th FW commander, standing watch over the wing headquarters building 24/7 and being an impressive landscape element.
“We feel lucky to have such a vigilant security guard keeping a close eye on our wing commander,” Thomas said.
Looking back on the deployment, the Rock wasn’t the only one who gained a sense of pride from its mission.
Rock challenges all comers
The Rock rests quietly on the north side of the 56th Fighter Wing headquarters, Bldg. 452. The challenge is to paint the rock, but there are rules that must be followed.
The 56th Fighter Wing commander, Luke 1, is the owner of the Rock.
Luke 1 delegates care and painting of the Rock to any unit (group, squadron, flight, section, unit, training class) with the following stipulations:
When the Rock is freshly cared for (recently painted), it must have a minimum cure time of two weeks if the current design is appropriate in nature (See below).
Basic course classes are not permitted to paint the Rock until each member of the class has soloed. Because of this restriction, when the Rock has been painted by a B-course class, the Rock will have a minimum of four weeks to cure.
Appropriately painted requirements:
The Rock is to be painted in such a way as to represent the group, squadron, flight, section, unit or training class.
It must present a professional persona – Luke 1’s Rock has a proud heritage and a legacy of remaining stone-faced – do not embarrass the Rock.
Colors that stand out are highly encouraged, but camouflage painting is also acceptable.
Delegations that paint the Rock are not to be caught by the 56th Security Forces Squadron patrols (SFS patrol sees group painting the Rock).
If caught, the SFS patrol will notify the 56th SFS commander or DO and then resume duties; the only question asked by the patrol will be what unit the delegation is representing.
That unit commander will then award the SFS commander $10 for the SFS morale and welfare fund during the next Tuesday staff meeting.