434th LRS trains in Kadena

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Katrina Heikkinen
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing
Supply, deploy, distribute, transport are key competencies of the logistics readiness career field, and without them, the Air Force wouldn’t be able to support generation and employment of aerospace forces across the globe.

For 22 Airmen, travelling across the globe was an opportunity to enhance their skills in a logistics core field, with the added threat of lingering typhoons.

Airmen from Grissom’s 434th Logistics Readiness Squadron deployed and embedded with active-duty 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Kadena Air Force Base, Japan, July 18-30 to improve key competencies in vehicle operations/ground transportation, supply, petroleum oils and lubricants and traffic management operations.

“The training at Kadena consisted of us shadowing different areas that we normally wouldn’t get to see at home station,” said Master Sgt. Peter Rogers, 434th LRS fuels service center information supervisor. “A good example of that is they have a very excellent cryo-production plant – we don’t have that at Grissom. Instead of taking compressed oxygen for breathing, different aircraft have liquid oxygen on board. Kadena is the only Air Force installation that produce liquid oxygen for use. That was definitely awesome chance to get to see that there.”

At a tactical level, Airmen received training on key aspects of logistics readiness, preparing them for a permanent change of station, TDY or a deployment.

“Several Airmen had specific requirements that had to be met for a deployment,” said Senior Master Sgt. Andrea Estes, 434th LRS distribution flight superintendent. “Some needed HAZMAT training, others needed to ensure they are familiar and comfortable with shipping and receiving functionality since we don’t have TMO at Grissom.”

For other Airmen, they received hands-on training that enabled them to be ready for changes coming to Grissom.

“At Grissom we had a type two fuel hydrant system – as the means for getting the fuel to the aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Andres Paz-Colina, 434th LRS petroleum oils and lubricants training NCO in charge. “Grissom is changing to a type three system scheduled for completion in the very near future. Since Kadena already has a type three system, it was an opportunity to see the system and learn trouble-shooting techniques to take back with us.”

Not only did Airmen receive the tactical training in functions of LRS they might require in the future, they experienced a variety of new elements, including active-duty tempo and geographical elements, providing them strategic insight into the LRS mission across different commands.

“I definitely enjoyed being embedded with an active-duty component,” Rogers said. “On a drill weekend, our tempo is based off what flying and maintenance requests for fuel on the aircraft. It always seems to go down on drill weekends and our Air Force specialty code training seems to come to a stand-still for computer-based training. In Kadena, active-duty members were constantly working, so it was really great to see the tempo that active duty has for our job.”

“I think it was a great experience for everybody to see how different LRS can be,” Estes said. “Many of our Airmen have already gone to USAFE and now they can see the differences in PACAF – operations tempo, leadership, how that particular command works differently, so I think it was a wonderful experience.”

For most Airmen, this was their first time experiencing a new area of responsibility.

“This was my second trip to Kadena, and it was great to experience the culture and the people,” said Tech. Sgt. Nolan Ritter, 434th LRS materiel management craftsman. The 18th LRS was very helpful assisting our troops in three key functions – aircraft part store, equipment management and flight service center. The NCOs and leadership were extremely helpful to us and for the airmen. We look forward to continuing an ongoing relationship with our Kadena and PACAF counterparts.”

“I think a biggest take-away for us whenever we go to a different base is what we can bring back, because no base’s fuel systems are the same,” said Senior Airman Bryan Sevrence, 434th LRS fuels distribution system operator. “They run into certain problems for various reasons that we will never have seen – like a typhoon. If we’re better informed because we go somewhere and we see those things, we’re only going to benefit Grissom.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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