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Kadena Airmen 'deploy' to Guam

by Tech. Sgt. Mike Tateishi
18th Wing Public Affairs

9/2/2009 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- Nearly 100 maintenance, operations, and support personnel arrived here Aug. 31 as part of a test of the deployment capabilities of the 18th Wing from Kadena Air Base, Japan.

The timing of this deployment coincides with "Obon," which means reduced jet noise coming from the Kadena flight line and over Okinawa during this Japanese holiday.

Most Airmen usually deploy in an Air Expeditionary Force tasking within their Air Force Specialty Codes. This generally means integrating with a unit that is already forward deployed. However, when the 18th Wing is called to deploy, officials need to be ready to send Airmen as an assembled team.

"Part of that piece is going to be the logistical capability to move forces around the Pacific as the theater threat dictates or as the requirements dictate," said Capt. Tom Hunt, 67th Fighter Wing project officer.

At Kadena Air Base, Japan, "The piece we play all the time is reception, reception, reception, but we have to know how to operate out of Guam and other deployed locations," he said. "This is an opportunity for Kadena forces to deploy, integrate and essentially do the other side of the reception coin."

"The cargo piece was huge today," said Capt. Hollie Diesselhorst, 909th Air Refueling Squadron chief of training, who was responsible for the two KC-135 Stratotankers and getting the people and cargo to Guam.

Determining what cargo needed to be on the jets, getting people and cargo loaded and then getting everybody where they need to be at the right time is a task her squadron doesn't often execute.

At Kadena, "We fly maybe two or three times a week and we've got our regular paperwork and our regular office work," said Captain Diesselhorst. "The nice thing about being away from Kadena is we can pretty much fly every day."

This training time allows the KC-135 co-pilots to work on their aircraft commander upgrade training and allows junior pilots to work alongside B-52 Stratofortresses and F-22 Raptors, something that really only can be done at Guam.

Although the weather on Guam mirrors Okinawa, it's not a day at the beach.

"You don't have the luxuries of each piece fitting together as you would back at home," said Master Sgt. David Wade, production superintendent with the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

"Obviously I have to adjust to how operations are run here as opposed to what I'm used to doing at the 67th (Fighter Squadron)," said Staff Sgt. Kimberly Runnels, who works the operations desk at the 67th Fighter Squadron.

She has done something similar to this in Alaska and already knows what she has to do to integrate.

"You just kind of come in and adapt to how it's being done, but stick to the basics of what you know to get the job done," Sergeant Runnels said.

With the deployment phase done, Kadena Airmen on the ground in Guam will continue to hone their skills, learning how to operate as a team at a deployed location.


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