OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. – Whether it’s a global pandemic, an earthquake, a hurricane or other emergency, organizations must train and prepare for every contingency.
The 102nd Intelligence Wing is no exception. As both an Air Force and Air National Guard unit, and an integral part of the Massachusetts National Guard, the 102nd is playing a pivotal role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unit must also simultaneously ensure its federal mission of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) remains at the highest levels of resiliency and effectiveness.
“Certainly, our reality has changed significantly in the past few weeks,” said Col. David McNulty, 102nd Intelligence Wing commander. “The wing is currently providing support to state and local authorities and sending out more Airmen as they need us. In the meantime, we’re doing our best to maintain our readiness to perform its full range of missions.”
It is the Airmen of the wing that ensure this level of readiness.
From the training they receive to the effectiveness they display through practice, to hand washing and social distancing, the Airmen know and execute their responsibilities to ensure mission accomplishment.
The 102IW has implemented telework to the maximum extent possible. For those who can’t work remotely due to the nature of their jobs, the base has created shift schedules to ensure social distancing and other CDC best practices are followed.
“First and foremost, our priority is to keep the Airmen of the 102nd Intelligence Wing and their families safe,” McNulty said. “We remain active in our home-station duties that include performing federal Title 10 missions. Those mission-essential tasks have not changed. We still need to conduct them.”
Airmen in the 102nd ISR Group continue to work around the clock on responsibilities halfway around the world.
“By employing a variety of innovative social distancing techniques, the Airmen of the 102nd ISR Group have seamlessly continued to support operations across the globe,” said Col. Sean Riley, 102nd ISR Group commander.
A critical part of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System, the 102nd ISR Group provides continuous intelligence analysis to combatant commands worldwide. Airmen assigned to this unit produce actionable intelligence from data collected from a variety of sensors on the U-2, RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper and other ISR platforms.
To help make sure these missions continue during this health crisis, the 102nd Force Support Flight is supporting Airmen in a variety of ways.
“We’ve had to figure out how to adapt our way of doing business to continue to support the wing’s Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Kristen Moulis, 102nd FSF commander. “We continue to process military and civilian personnel actions with little to no interruption via virtual processing. We’ve modified our processes to provide remote support to customer service, assignments, accessions, promotions, re-enlistments, extensions, in and out processing and new-hire orientations.”
The 102nd FSF is also using the online ID card office: Airmen can update their own expiring credentials remotely, which gives them continued access to the DoD network without visiting the base, Moulis said.
With basic military training and technical schools considered mission-essential, the Base Training Office continues to process Airmen for these trips.
The office also manages state and active-duty tuition assistance since many Airmen are taking advantage of online courses.
The services team is managing dormitories used by mission-essential Airmen supporting in-garrison deployments and Security Forces Airmen and Military Police Soldiers. They are assisting at a field hospital set up to care for residents recovering from COVID-19.
Ultimately, the 102nd Force Support Flight mission hasn’t stopped or even slowed, because the wing’s Airmen continue to meet the mission during the ‘new normal.’
“We’re all in this thing together, and we have to depend on one another,” McNulty said.