161st tests deployment processing capability
By Tech. Sgt. Susan Gladstein, 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 20, 2012
PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- The 161st Air Refueling Wing tested the old adage, "Practice makes perfect," during an exercise here Jan. 7 and 8.
Modeled after the upcoming Air Mobility Command Inspector General inspection the unit will undergo in June, this exercise enabled the wing to activate its entire deployment process.
Forty passengers and 12 pallets of cargo were processed in about five hours. To do this, more than 130 people were required to man various deployment functions and control centers.
"Exercises allow us to improve the processing line and to make sure the people manning the line are reinforcing their skills," said Tech. Sgt. Geoffrey Blank, 161st LRS mobility. "This was a very good exercise and it went very well from our perspective."
For this exercise, the wing concentrated on how to prepare to deploy people and cargo in a relatively short time.
"We've deployed a lot of people over the last several years but nothing large enough to require us to stand up all the different functions," said Lt. Col. Michael Lynch, 161st LRS operations officer. "Exercises like this give us a chance to practice working together and keeping everyone current with their training (requirements.)"
Colonel Lynch explained that the wing is very busy in supporting operations around the world. This provides a small core of people who are experts at deploying small amounts of people and equipment.
"We are still obligated to support a total war scenario that requires us to move a lot of people and cargo in a short time," he said. "This requires a larger, more complicated process. Exercises like this ensure we can meet that obligation."
To do this, Airmen from other squadrons were used to ensure the processing line was effective and efficient.
"It takes the efforts of a lot of people to plan and prepare for an exercise like this," Colonel Lynch said. "The entire deployment process is staff by augmentees from throughout the wing so it takes extra coordination and the support of their commanders and supervisors."
This exercise was a good display of the cooperation and teamwork of the Copperheads, according to Colonel Lynch.
"The 161st has always been good at pulling together and making things happen," he said. "Everyone displayed a positive attitude and willingness to work together, share experience and learn from each other. The wing can expect to see more exercises like this in the future."