Operation Patriot Angler gets off to cool start
Posted August 19, 2015
Members of the 944th Fighter Wing departed Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, July 25, leaving behind temperatures closing in on the century mark for the balmy 65-degree weather at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. By Arizona standards, it was a cool start for the 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron's 2015 annual tour.
The 944th LRS will integrate with, and provide and receive training with their active duty counterparts from the 673rd and the 773rd Logistics Readiness Squadrons during this year's deployment.
"The best compliment I can get is to be asked back," said Col. Kurt Gallegos, 944th Fighter Wing commander, as he spoke with the group before take-off.
"Don't forget who you represent. There are three things we bring: experience, continuity, and cost effectiveness. Show them what the 944 Fighter Wing is made of, have fun, and don't forget your wingman."
While in Alaska the 944th LRS will be divided into two groups.
Fuels, supply, and vehicle maintenance will work with the 673rd LRS and readiness, traffic management office and vehicle operations will work with the 773rd LRS. The team also comprises support members including, training, commander support staff, 944th Forces Support Squadron personnel, and wing staff agencies.
As part of the 673rd Logistics Readiness Group, the 673rd and 773rd LRSs with a combined staff of more than 500 personnel are responsible for the operation and maintenance of 1,500-plus vehicles worth $121 million; deployment operations for nearly 3,000 tons of Air Force equipment, 1,100 pieces of Army rolling stock and 600 storage containers; supply operations for nearly 48,000 line items valued at over $408 million; storage and distribution of 12.5 million gallons of fuel; and traffic management support for 12,500 cargo shipments, 5,300 household good shipments and 10,630 ticketed travelers.
"Off station annual tours are such an important part of being a reservist. This is a time when Airmen can put into action all their training and skills working side by side their active duty counterparts," said Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Mahan, 944th LRS, Fuels NCO in charge and assistant project officer for the trip. "Working in a real environment provides absolutely irreplaceable training, something which is very difficult to replicate in a simulated situation at home station."
"I am definitely excited to be outside Arizona.
I'm a big fisherman so I hope to get in some fishing as well as working," said Airman Michael Prado, 944th LRS, TMO. As a full-time student at Glendale Community College who has been with the unit for less than a year, this is his first squadron deployment. "The process has been really smooth so far; my supervisor really helped me to get ready."
During their time in Alaska, fuels personnel will receive training on Airborne Warning and Control System planes, hydrant systems, pump house, storage, laboratory, cryogenics, and accounting.
Members from the readiness section will assist with crisis action planning and other contingency processes and provide training in those areas. Additionally, they will receive seven-level upgrade and continual training and back-fill their active duty counter parts.
Supply individuals will spend their time backfilling the active duty shop and receive on-the-job training and continual upgrade training.
Airmen from the transportation section are going to be providing and receiving vehicle operations training, TMO and continual upgrade training.
They will also be assisting active duty with vehicle maintenance.
The training section will coordinate with active duty LRS training managers to provide and receive training and they will work with 944 LRS supervisors and trainers on any upgrade training and Training Business Area matters.
For the LRS, day one for this deployment began about a year ago when Readiness started working to get approval for the trip, coordinating airlift support and planning out the deployment and redeployment process.
"Our job is to carefully and efficiently get everyone to the destination, get them properly settled in and then rewind and do everything in reverse to get everyone home safely," said Senior Master Sgt. James Lindsay, 944th LRS, NCOIC of Plans and deployment project officer.
"I want everyone to be safe, continue to learn and represent the Reserve proudly," said Major Cedric Finnen, 944th LRS, Vehicle Maintenance Flight commander and Operation Patriot Angler deployment commander.