Massachusetts Airmen perform training in England
By Capt. Bonnie Blakely, 102nd Intelligence Wing
/ Published July 18, 2019
RAF MILDENHALL, England --
More than 40 Airmen from the 102nd Intelligence Wing, Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, are performing their deployment for training July 8 - 21, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.
The DFT provided Airmen the opportunity to hone their skills and become even more proficient in their individual career fields while working with their active-duty counterparts from the 100th Air Refueling Wing here.
“This DFT has benefited our airmen by letting them train and integrate with the active-duty folks,” said Lt. Col. Nicole Ivers, Commander, 102nd Logistics Readiness Flight and DFT Commander.
Airmen who attended the DFT are from various 102nd MSG elements including the Force Support Flight, Logistics Readiness Flight, Civil Engineering Squadron, and Communication Flight.
Personnelists from FSF trained with the 100th Force Support Squadron in the Military Personnel Flight and various Commander’s Support Staff. Services Airmen split into teams to work in the dining hall and fitness centers on base.
They experienced working day, evening, and overnight shifts to support various meals. Services members also created midnight meals, and flightline meals, which is very different from the two lunches a month that they provide on a typical drill weekend at the 102nd IW.
“Experience is the best teacher,” said Tech. Sgt. Josh Veiga, Services Specialist, 102nd FSF. “Having my troops see more of their career field is what I’m really taking back with me… the ability to show them now or use examples from what they’ve seen.”
Airmen who worked in the fitness centers were able to take away some valuable tips for conducting fitness testing, which was a targeted area during the last midpoint Unit Effectiveness Inspection at the 102nd IW. They also had the opportunity to receive training from the base honor guard on marching commands and flag folding.
“We’ve learned quite a bit of the tasks that the active duty does that we don't touch on back home,” Said Master Sgt. Karson Austin, Material Management Superintendent, 102nd LRF. “It’s been great to be here and to actually get to see the things that we’ve only read about in our CDCs.”
The Airmen from Material Management/Supply got hands-on practice with the aircraft parts store, Mobility Readiness Spare Package kits, extensive warehousing, and mobility procedures, to name a few.
“It's been extremely beneficial to our folks,” Austin said. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback.”
LRF Airmen from the fuels shop typically only get to experience refueling government owned vehicles at the 102nd IW. During the DFT, they were able to refuel several aircraft and get experience using highly-specialized equipment.
Additionally, members of the 102nd Civil Engineering Squadron and Communications Flight were able to augment active-duty personnel. The shops at the 100th ARW are short staffed this time of year due to many Airmen receiving a permanent change in station or deploying to other locations.
Having guardsmen here to help complete work orders was a great benefit. Some even provided training to Mildenhall Airmen who are fresh out of tech school.
“They’ve got a lot of new client system technician Airmen who are still in 5-level upgrade training,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Perry, 102nd Communications Flight. “We’ve been going out on jobs with them and trying to share some of the knowledge that we have.”
Overall, the DFT experience better prepared the Airmen for future deployments by training with organizations that we don’t have at an intelligence wing, Ivers said.
“As a commander, it’s our job to man, train, and equip our personnel,” Ivers said. “That way when they deploy into an active-duty wing, they’ve have the experience here and aren’t seeing it for the first time. It better prepares them to go down range.”