442 LRS, FSS team up for training deployment

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Sixty-eight members of the 442d Logistics Readiness and Force Support Squadrons completed a two-week deployment-for-training (DFT), May 6-20, to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Duke Field, Fla.

The purpose of the two squadrons’ annual tour this year was two-fold, according to both units’ commanders. To perfect home-station and deployed mission-readiness skills, and to take a look at another unit’s procedures and bring what works back to Whiteman AFB, Mo.

“This is a chance to take everyone out of their comfortable, home-station surroundings,” said Lt. Col. Allan Slavin, commander of the 442d LRS. “Working here is like being in a deployed environment, in the sense that the process, surroundings and people are all different.”

The DFT also included seven members of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st LRS, according to Slavin.

The Citizen Airmen integrated into the regular Air Force’s 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron, based here.

Reservists from Whiteman worked in five of the functional areas of an LRS, to include supply, traffic management office, vehicle operations, vehicle maintenance, and petroleum, oils and lubrication.

“Seeing what the active-duty does on the supply side is a huge benefit,” said Tech. Sgt. Gabraiel Adame, a supply management specialist from the 442d LRS. “This DFT will definitely help move more of our folks from the three-skill level to the five-skill level.”

In the POL arena, 442d LRS Reservists refueled several kinds of aircraft, including F-16 Fighting Falcons, KC-135 Stratotankers, F-15 Eagles, C-130 Hercules variants and even the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, the F-35 Lightning – something they would not have the opportunity to do back at Whiteman AFB, according to Tech. Sgt. Jordon Aggson, a 442d LRS fuels specialist.

The 442d Force Support Squadron Reservists worked out of Duke Field, which is home to Air Force Reserve Command’s 919th Special Operations Wing. Instead of integrating into an active-duty unit, Reserve Citizen Airmen from the personnel, training and communications career fields explored and evaluated different approaches to their home-station mission, while Services Airmen received hands-on readiness training that will fill requirements for combat readiness.

“This has been a great learning opportunity for Airmen in all four of our mission areas,” said Lt. Col. Catherine Roberts, commander of the 442d Force Support Squadron. For example, Airmen in the services flight received valuable mission-readiness experience by constructing a single-pallet expeditionary kitchen, something they are expected to do in a combat zone.

“Observing the way everyone else does things differently but gets the same results has been extremely valuable,” said Tech. Sgt. Kathleen Woodward, a 442d FSS personnel specialist. “Everyone’s been open about sharing their processes and experience, which has been great.”

One of the benefits for the FSS communications section was to get hands-on experience in transitioning a network to a new operating system, according to Staff Sgt. Ceron Moffatt, a client systems technician in the 442d FSS. Whiteman AFB will be using the new software in the future and communications Airmen received valuable experience to help prepare for the transition.

“We learned a lot about what not to do when Whiteman migrates [to the new operating system],” Moffat said.

According to the hosts of the DFT, the education process worked both ways, with Airmen at Eglin and Duke learning from the visiting 442d Mission Support Group members.

“I’ve loved having Reservists here,” said Tech. Sgt. Barrett Harley, NCO in charge of the 96th LRS vehicle operations flight. “We’ve learned a lot from each other.”