Deployment: a team effort

  • Published
  • By Col. Brett J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing
Due to a cloud of volcanic ash, it took three "practice" sessions to get our most recent group of deployers out of town, but they finally made it to their destination in Southwest Asia. A big "THANK YOU" to all involved in the planning and preparations to make it happen. Additionally, I would like to pass on my sincere appreciation to those deployed and their families for their willingness to serve and their patience with the delays in the departure.
Finally, kudos to all those who demonstrated the finest in southern hospitality to the soldiers of the 540th Quartermaster Corps while they were stranded with us waiting for the volcanic ash cloud to clear.

And speaking of the ash cloud, this was a constant and significant problem to deal with for all of us on the deployment support chase plane mission. Like everything else, the airmen tackling this mission brilliantly dealt with this issue and every other problem they encountered.

It was a real privilege to be in command of these professionals. Teamwork was evident in everything they did. Whether fixing bus switching relays, repairing Self-Contained Navigation System, changing a main gear tire, or exploring the history of Seville Spain, they accomplished all these things as a team; a team with an incredible sense of humour.

It was certainly my honour to work with each of them.

The chase plane provided mission critical enroute support for our 908th airmen and aircraft deploying to the CENTCOM area of responsibility. This recent deployment involved a little over 200 of us with more to follow over the next few months. In total over 400 members or roughly 33 percent of our wing will be deployed sometime this year. Our members continue to step up and meet the nation's requirements for citizen airmen and warfighters while the operations tempo of the 908th Airlift Wing runs at near peak capacity.

Since Desert Storm in 1991, members of the 908th, other AFRC reservists, and ANG guardsmen have been actively engaged in daily operations around the world. It has been argued that the old view of what it meant to be a reservist, "one weekend a month and two weeks a year," died at the start of Desert Storm.

Today, the participation demands for the typical reservist have increased at least three fold and seem to be growing. With this steady state demand for increase participation comes the requirement to provide mutual support for both airmen and our families. From top to bottom, the 908th Airlift Wing is totally committed to this team concept and the wingman culture. Families helping families and airmen assisting airmen are not new concepts in this organization. It has been our tradition from the beginning.

I expect this current deployment surge will be a challenge that our members will brilliantly tackle as a highly effective team. Like all challenges, we meet them head on, as a team, and together we will tackle this deployment surge, like everything else, with the highest degree of excellence and professionalism.