AVIANO AIR BASE, ITALY --
AVIANO AIR BASE, ITALY - Nearly 80 reservists from the 301st Fighter Wing's Logistics Readiness Squadron and Force Support Squadron, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, successfully completed their annual tour training at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 17 - 25, 2017.
The two squadrons from the 301st divided into flights based on job specialties and joined forces with their respective active duty counterparts from the 31st Fighter Wing here. Whether it was working in food services, vehicle operations, vehicle maintenance, fuels, personnel or customer service to name a few, the 301stʼs impact was immediate.
Before 301st reservists arrived, the Air Force dining facility was running on a four-person team. The 301st more than doubled the staffing bringing ten and the 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, added seven more to help cook, bake, serve, and prepare an average of 700 meals a day morning, noon, and night.
“We appreciate the impact they made for our base personnel in relieving some of the (low-manning) stress in order to help get the mission done,” said Master Sgt. Carlos Saucedo, 31st FSS food service superintendent at the La Dulce Vida Dining Facility. “The attitudes were great… enthusiastic team players who provided service for not only the exercise personnel we had from the Netherlands but also base population.”
The mission impact didn’t stop in the kitchen, but continued outside as well.
Tech. Sgt. Fabian Rincon, 301st LRS vehicle maintenance flight chief, shared how his Airmen were able to take advantage of this opportunity.
“I want them to see how the active duty shop works, they had everything on hand when it came to every tool, liquid, filters, you name it… it’s right there. Our shop is a little different because we don’t have every tool or fluid on-hand,” said Rincon. “[With their resources and our experience] when something needed to get done, it got done very quick. We were able to turn out the work.”
In two days, vehicle maintenance Airmen repaired brakes on a MB4 aircraft transport vehicle, which had been broken for two years. 301st Airmen fixed a 60K aircraft cargo loader, which needed a compressor for over two months. They also repaired a truck with a leaking oil pan gasket , which is normally a more than seven-hour job, in four, according to Rincon.
The tour was mutually beneficial because each wing shared knowledge and took what they learned back to their respective workplaces.
“One takeaway was the way active duty did things and the training they gave us so that we can apply it to the reserve side," said Tech. Sgt. Christina Sadberry, 301st FSS customer support NCOIC. "They do something like this every single day where the majority of us are traditional reservists and only come in one weekend a month. So we can now help spread the word to those reservists on how things should be accomplished.”
They were not only exposed to the higher operational tempo and everyday mission, but were also able to experience training they cannot get back home.
“It doesn’t compare with being able to come and actually work with our counterparts,” said Master Sgt. Treka Bunkley 301st FSS superintendent. “Because we do deploy, work as one team, and are expected to integrate and jump right in and do exactly what active duty does, we need to train with them every once in a while. Plus, we don’t run the dining facilities on our own base,[a U.S. Navy installation] so this is our only opportunity to get Air Force training. I think it’s beneficial and helps us demonstrate the Reserve’s capabilities.”
Master Sgt. William Smith, 301st LRS fuels flight chief, shared similar sentiment in training overseas.
“We get hands-on training on equipment we don’t have at home,” Smith said. “Training opportunities like this are instrumental in better preparing us to go to deploy locations.”
The 301st mission is to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen. Because of this training, they were able to learn new skills, sharpen their expertise and accomplish the Air Force mission.
“This is the first time in years that the 301st [FSS] has been able to get overseas to train like this,” said Maj. Brandi Collen, 301st FSS commander. “They were able to get that much closer to their upgrade training and stay proficient with things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”