Reservists return from deployment
By Senior Airman Missy Sterling, 442d Fighter Wing
/ Published July 17, 2017
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
More than 160 deployed personnel were spread across six bases in support of Operation Resolute Support. This operation is led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and aims to train, advise and assist Afghan soldiers and police to combat terrorism.
Reserve-Citizen Airmen supported vital base functions including managing supply, transportation, security, and accountability of personnel.
Most of the Logistics Readiness Squadron was in Southwest Asia, supporting four or five different types of airplanes for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, said Col. David Kurle, 442d MSG commander. One LRS officer forward deployed to Iraq and ran an aerial port squadron, he said.
A number of security forces members also forward deployed to Iraq in support of the coalition effort to dismantle ISIS in Mosul.
“This is why it’s important to train well and stay mission-ready—you never know where you will forward-deploy,” Kurle said.
Kurle also highlighted the firefighters’ role in responding to fires that broke out on two bases in Southwest Asia. In addition, the civil engineer squadron played a vital role in ensuring Airmen had proper ventilation and helped battle the stray dog population.
Members of the force support squadron managed lodging, dining, morale and welfare, and ensured accountability of personnel on the base.
Master Sgt. Shannon Kennedy, the former 442d Military Personnel Section superintendent, acted as non-commissioned officer in charge of customer service for Personnel Support for Contingency Operations.
“Our biggest priority was keeping accountability of roughly 10,000 people who were on the base,” Kennedy said.
“We focused on trying to make things better for the next
Kennedy and her team of Airmen provided services ranging from re-enlistments to resolving issues with pay and orders for all members of the military branches. Kennedy said her prior experience in the Army helped her relationships with other service members.
“I taught my Airmen the Army ranks, which really impressed Army members who came through,” Kennedy said. “I had some of the best Airmen I have ever met come and work for me. They always worked hard, and we had fun learning from each other.”
Praise for Kennedy’s team reached the 442d MSG commander. In fact, according to Kurle, multiple commanders called him to compliment his members’ efforts.
“I’m really proud of our folks who deployed, and also I’m
really proud of those who stayed here, because we kept
up a full MSG,”
Kurle said. “We never missed a beat even with about half the staff we usually have.”
Without the MSG, the wing would essentially shut down, so many Traditional Reservists were placed on orders to fill in the gaps at home station during the deployment.
“I had a lot of people working long hours to make it happen; I’m really proud of the group,” Kurle said. “This is the first all-in tasking we’ve had. To take the entire group out and to continue what we did here, I think that’s a testament to how good these folks are.”