KADENA AIR BASE, Japan–Integrating seamlessly into the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and providing some much needed manpower relief was key to the success of Operations Patriot Habu.
During the two week annual tour trip, Citizen Airmen from the 944th Fighter Wing were given the opportunity to serve alongside Active Duty counter parts. The significance of an off station AT proved to be invaluable for both wings.
“We supplied a well trained and seasoned labor force during a transition period of the year for the 18th Wing,” said Lt. Col. Kip Schlum, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander.
“Traveling to a different location is important because the variety of training is undeniable. The hospitality and professionalism from the host wing was beyond excellent,” he added.
Jointly the group helped inventory well over 30 thousand line items worth over 10 million dollars in the short time they were on the Island.
“It never ceases to amaze me how smart and experienced members of the 944th are,” said Colonel Paul Theisen, 944th Mission Support Group commander. “Collectively the group accomplished an outstanding amount of work during the two weeks. The key was the advon team and site survey which helps us hit the ground running. It was great to hear over and over from the 18th leadership that they would reach out and request 944th members again.”
Vehicle maintenance members assisted with preparing and spraying corrosive preventive compound on Airfield Damage Repair construction equipment. This spray process saves 3.5 million dollars every five years in vehicle maintenance repair cost.
Vehicle operations personnel provided 100 percent accountability for a critical equipment conex worth $20,000 and identified 2,300 items for Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. In addition, the 944th provided an individual to backfill as the Noncommissioned Officer In-Charge of Equipment Support for the nine million dollar fleet and 39 million dollars of critical equipment.
Vehicle Management Airmen were able to get exposure to the Defense Property Accountability System which is a DOD program being implemented Air Force wide. This training will be taken back to home station and provided to active duty members at Luke Air Force Base.
Members of the fuels flight hit the ground running dispensing over 40,440 gallons of JP8 fuel to 26 F-15. As well as filling in the middle management roles which are currently vacant in the 18th Petroleum, Oils and Lubricant unit which happens to the largest in the Pacific Air Force.
Supply individuals inventory over 7,000 line items of individual protective equipment items. The extra manpower enabled their active duty counter parts, who were working 12-hour shifts, to meet a deadline required for the transition to the Enterprise Supply System.
Providing personnel with expertise in Transportation Security Administration experience was an added bonus for the Traffic Management Office. Additionally 944 TMO personnel assisted their active duty counter parts with inspecting items received at the water port, training they could not receive at their landlocked home station.
The LRS training manager provided classes and mentoring on the Training Business Area process and reiterated the necessity of supervisor involvement in airman’s progression in training.
From the office to the pulpit and everything in between members of the 944th Chapel staff mixed in with the 18th Wing chapel staff to help multiply their workforce.
Due to the level of experience the 18th Security Forces Squadron immediately integrated deployed 944 SFS members onto all five of their flights. This provided good experience for 944th members and much needed assistance for their active duty counter parts.
“We are hard pressed to keep members engaged at home station so being able to provide additional support here is perfect,” said Lt. Col. Amy Evan, 944th SFS commander.
I addition to keeping an eye on the 80 plus members of the 944th, the First Sergeants volunteered their time for a joint courtesy town patrol. They walked several miles and passed through numerous bars during the four hour shift to ensure the safety of military members.
The eight months of preparation done by the LRS Readiness Flight paid great dividends with the smooth flow of equipment and personnel.
“Your reputation proceeds you and we would absolutely have you all back. The work added value was absolute. The mission here never ends and we can always use the support,” Lt. Col. Patrick Launey, 18th LRS commander.