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176th Wing multi-capable Airmen prepare the total force

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Daniel Robles
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK -- Arctic Guardians of the 176th Wing redefine mission generation by teaching Agile Combat Employment techniques to total force Airmen.

Short-notice taskings around the globe to austere and remote environments with limited infrastructure and resources require Airmen to be agile, adaptable and ready to generate missions on a moment’s notice.

This concept of employment is referred to as Agile Combat Employment, and it is being adopted by all components of the Air Force with rapid expansion into joint and multi-national arenas. In the logistics arena, an ACE framework requires identifying the minimum personnel, skillsets and equipment required to generate a given mission at any given location.

“For a logistics readiness Airmen, ACE requires becoming a multi-capable Airman, able to adapt to mission needs,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamen Hancox, 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron air freight supervisor. “MCA work interchangeably to fill unforeseen needs that arise out of necessity to complete the mission.”

In preparation for ACE, a team of logistics, readiness and mission support experts from across the 176th Wing identified key skillsets required by all MCA in order to support global ACE missions. Within the 176th Wing, these include detailed logistics planning, expeditionary structure setup, aircraft ground refueling, cargo preparation and pallet buildup.  

Enabling global airlift and rapid mobility, pallet buildup is taught monthly by 176th LRS subject matter experts to Airmen from multiple career fields across the total force. This training ensures that no cargo or equipment is left waiting for rapid transport and reduces the number of personnel required for mission generation. 

“Pallet familiarization training is a way to get our members ready and knowledgeable for deployment,” Hancox said. “The more our people know about pallet buildup, the smoother we make the process of loading and unloading, which is a skill most of these Airmen will use at some point.”

Over the course of the three-day training, a team of Airmen disassembled and reassembled a pallet using top nets, side nets and straps. Hancox showed the team the proper way to secure the straps and described the process for finding the center of mass for more cumbersome objects that may need transported.

This training exposed Airmen to the full process, as some, like Alaska Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Alan Merritt, had previously experienced only one step in the procedure.

“When I work in ground trans or supply, I only get one side of the story,” Merritt said. “This training helps improve my understanding especially as a drill status Guardsman. I’ve picked up and dropped off items at this building before, so it’s nice seeing the other side of the process.”

The 176th LRS offers various training on a monthly basis for all statuses of Guardsmen as well as active-duty counterparts who want to become multi-capable Airmen.