KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The 81st Logistics Readiness Squadron enabled approximately 150 403rd Wing Airmen to deploy in support of operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve early January.
“My staff and I were responsible for ensuring personnel and equipment processed quickly and efficiently to meet the needs of the combatant commander,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Penn, 81st LRS plans and integration section chief.
Assigned to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing based at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, aircrew from the 815th Airlift Squadron, maintainers from the 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and support personnel from the 403rd Wing will provide airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation support to operations throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
To make sure every Airman was prepared for the deployment, the 81st LRS set up a deployment processing line designed to quickly process a large number of people at once.
“A deployment processing line entails pre-deployment briefings, final eligibility checks, issue of deployment orders, last minute personnel services and passenger manifesting just to name a few things,” said Penn.
This process is ideal in large scale operations rather than each Airman individually out-processing which could take days, according to Penn.
Although this process is ideal, the 81st LRS had to overcome a few challenges.
“Because of the complexity and the different people involved with different functions, the communication and coordination is very difficult,” said Lt. Col. Melissa Rativa, 81st LRS commander. “You are on a timeline you can’t bust; the Airmen that deployed had to be down range at a certain time and the aircraft had to be there at a certain time. It was all driven on a time requirement.”
The 81st LRS and the 403rd LRS work together in other areas, but this was the first time since Rativa has been at Keesler where they worked together on a joint deployment.
“Because we haven’t done it before, there were areas we had to work through and get better at,” said Rativa. “The hardest part was because we didn’t have that type of experience doing a joint deployment together.”
This was a an example of the 81st LRS and 403rd Wing working together to demonstrate total force readiness
“We see our job as making sure they have everything they need,” said Rativa. “We make sure they’re prepped, have the equipment and training they need to hit the ground and get the mission done.”