BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Airmen from across the 104th Fighter Wing participated in a mobility exercise August 9-16, 2021 at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts.
This exercise tested several units on their ability to rapidly deploy and process aircraft, equipment, cargo and personnel while maintaining mission readiness at home station.
Several units across the wing were involved and evaluated throughout the duration of this exercise, which included the Wing’s Maintenance Group, Operations Group, Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Force Support Squadron among several others.
For Tech. Sgt. Jason Edinger, a crew chief with the 104th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the mobility exercise was a rewarding experience.
“During this mobility exercise it was rewarding to see how our maintainers were tested with the pressure of having to rapidly mobilize aircraft and equipment as safely and effectively as possible,” said Edinger. “This exercise really demonstrated where we are at capabilities-wise and what we can accomplish in preparation for the future.”
While crew chiefs prepare the aircraft for launch, members of the operations group work behind the scenes to ensure pilots and personnel are informed and trained for the mission at hand.
“Our job as operations personnel is to make sure that our aircrew and pilots are informed, qualified and prepared to deploy,” said Master Sgt. Jaime Santiago, an aviation resource management specialist with the 104th Operations Group. “It is crucial that we identify flaws and work out kinks during exercises like these so that things don’t break down if we have to mobilize for a real operation. It was also rewarding to see everyone come together to accomplish the mission.”
Generating and mobilizing aircraft and equipment would be impossible without logistical readiness Airmen like Senior Airman Jeremy Ethier, a traffic management specialist with the 104th Logistical Readiness Squadron.
“Our role, as a logistics unit during this mobility exercise, was ensuring that all the cargo and all our Airmen have exactly what they need to deploy and what we do it as efficiently and accurately as possible,” said Ethier. “One of the main responsibilities that my team was tasked with was performing joint-inspections on some of the cargo and equipment. We have to be spot on with our work because the numbers gathered during this point in the mobility process directly impacts aircraft loading and placement.”
The last but certainly not the least, any mission, exercise or operation, would be inoperable without the Airmen, and Force Support Airmen worked alongside other wing support agencies throughout the mobility exercise to ensure that those heading out on mission are ready across the board for wherever they are heading.
“Force Support Airmen covered four crucial roles through the duration of the exercise which included: the Personnel Deployment Function line, the Installation Deployment Readiness Center, the Reception Control Center and the baggage team,” said 2nd Lt. Heather Dragon, Director of Force Support with the 104th Force Support Squadron. “Each area had hurdles to overcome, but were hugely successful due to their positive attitudes and collaboration with other wing agencies.”
104 FW leadership was pleased with how Barnestormers came together to execute the mobility mission during the exercise.
“Excellent job by everyone across the board,” said Col. David ‘Moon’ Halaski-Kun, vice commander of the 104 FW. “Our Airmen were able to skillfully execute the mission and demonstrate our rapid deployment capabilities.”