AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
In order to execute its mission effectively, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing recently leveraged the expertise of Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 624th Regional Support Group, who bring their civilian skills to support various missions at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
The 624th RSG is the largest Air Force Reserve presence in the Pacific hailing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, whose members are supporting three missions while deployed here: civil engineering, knowledge operations and air terminal operations.
"To provide critical defense in this area of operations, we need the expertise that each member brings to the fight, which is why our Total Force Structure, comprised of active duty, Reserve and National Guard Airmen, is so important," said Col. Eric Fajardo, 380th Expeditionary Mission Support Group commander. "Our current Reserve members are a great asset as they combine their civilian knowledge and military skillsets that provides additional weapons for ADAB to use. I'm impressed by the work they accomplish and proud to work alongside this team of professionals."
Since 1948, the Air Force Reserve has been a critical part of the nation’s defense. Currently, the Reserve performs about 20 percent of the Air Force mission.
“Reserve Airmen train to be combat-ready to support operations all over the world when needed,” said Senior Master Sgt. Roy Agpaoa, 380th ECES and Reservist from the 624th CES. “This helps to alleviate the strain of frequent deployments of their active duty Regular Air Force counterparts. Our Reserve Airmen contribute valuable skills and experience since most of them do their military job as civilians.”
The 624th Civil Engineer Squadron from JBPHH, Hawaii, is comprised of multiple Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force and firefighting teams ready to support worldwide deployments to construct and maintain the airfield and facilities.
Here they are assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron where they operate and maintain the base while providing 24/7 emergency services support.
The members work as firefighters, in structures, water and fuels maintenance, pavement and equipment, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning shops. Serving in a deployed environment offers many Reservists the opportunity to increase their skillset.
“It’s good to be out here, I don’t get to work with the equipment back home a lot but here I get to work on it every day so I get to learn my trade very well,” Senior Airman Elo Badua, 380th ECES HVAC technician and reservist from the 624th CES. “We picked up where the last rotation [of Airmen] left off and [we] try to make this a better place for the next rotation.”
By working together with their active duty counterparts, they are able to pass on skills learned from the civilian side.
“Some of our members from Hawaii have experiences they can share with the members here,” said Staff Sgt. Andre Chamilco, 380th ECES HVAC technician and reservist from 624th CES. “The people that I work with come from different backgrounds and have more experience on the civilian side.”
Knowledge Operation Managers
The Knowledge Operation Managers consists of Reservists from JBPHH, Hawaii, who provide administrative support to Air Force and joint organizations.
Here, these commander administrators coordinate, perform, and manage a variety of tasks and activities in direct support of organizational commanders, directors, and senior leaders. This includes office management, human resources, executive staff support, postal, and official mail.
“When attempting to explain the KOM mission, it’s easiest to picture a multi-tool,” said Tech. Sgt. Jean-Paul Zelaya-Rios, 909th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander administrator and reservist with the 624th RSG. “It’s an item that facilitates performing some sort of work, but the work is always varied. Whatever the mission is for the squadron or unit in which we’re assigned, that becomes our mission and we support it and own it.”
As KOM Airmen, they train to learn a program, become proficient in it, and then perform efficiently.
“It’s a great opportunity for me because I get to learn how the Wing functions [in a deployed environment], and what the short and long term goals are,” said Senior Airman Demelsa Leafa, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief executive assistant and 624th RSG reservist. “I’m glad to be here to support the ADAB mission.”
Air Terminal Operations
The 44th Aerial Port Squadron, located at Andersen AFB, Guam, deploy qualified personnel to provide air terminal operations worldwide in support of contingency operations, exercises, unit moves, and foreign humanitarian relief or disaster operations. Here, they operate the Air Terminal Operations Center for the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.
“The 44th APS members control ADAB's small aircraft terminal, also known as ATOC,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Quichocho, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent of deployment and distribution flight reservist from the 44th APS. “With a small aircraft terminal there are no individual sections or duties, all members assume many roles and wear many hats. At this particular location, all members of the 44th take part in receiving, processing cargo and passengers, as well as coordinating with each aerial port work center to accomplish the common goal and mission.”
The ATOC is the focal point for the aerial port mission execution. It is the central point through which all information relating to airlift traffic flow and aerial port operations is received, processed and dispatched to each functional area as well as to the chain of command. ATOC controls all of the space allocated on Air Mobility Command airlift missions.
“Our mission is to maintain safety and support the area of responsibility troop movement to make sure they are no delays or mishaps,” said Staff Sgt. James Agustin, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron ramp services agent reservist from the 44th APS. “Our job is important in making sure the rotators are processed in time and to make sure everything is correct, as far as getting their weapons and equipment sent off to their related missions. The job enrichment and repetition from this deployment allows us to become better aerial porters.”
The ATOC plays a large role in controlling the movement of passengers, mission essential cargo, intertheater and re-deployment movements.
“Working hand-in-hand with many other Air Force Specialty Codes, the Reserve Airman are the backbone to supporting the mission at this location,” added Quichocho. “Without the APS members, there would be a break in the flow of transportation and communication.”
These Reservists ensure that ADAB will continue to deliver decisive airpower, develop relationships and defend the region for years to come.
"We're proud of the excellent work our Pacific Warriors provide by serving to protect, defend and support our global freedom anytime, anywhere," said Col. Athanasia Shinas, 624th RSG commander. "Our Reserve Citizen Airmen are contributing to the seamless total force that is fighting today's war in the U.S. Central Command area of operation, and making it count."