News: Soldiers learn the logistics of the Air Force
Story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command learned about the 86th Logistics Readiness Group’s mission during a visit to Ramstein Airbase March 7.
The purpose of the visit is to strengthen and build partnerships between the 86th LRG and the 21st TSC through a tour highlighting the LRG’s vehicle operations and deployment and distribution capabilities.
“These soldiers are getting a full day of information on what the Logistics Readiness Group and our two squadrons do,” said Col. Brooks B. Reese, the 86th LRG commander and a native of Orem, Utah. “These visits are important because it builds a cross-talk between our two forces. The 21st (TSC) certainly understands ground logistics, but we can teach them about the air.”
Reese gave the soldiers a briefing on the mission and responsibilities of the LRG and their impact to the mission on Ramstein Airbase. He showcased their role in munitions transport and storage, vehicle maintenance and readiness, issuing equipment and deployment readiness. He concluded with an example of logistics importance.
“Do you know what a pilot is without logistical support?” Reese asked his audience. “A pedestrian with a fancy jacket.”
The soldiers then toured the 86th LRS’ deployment distribution facility. Regardless of service branch, this facility can issue equipment and weapons, provide legal and financial support, and offer any other service a deploying service member may need. The facility staff are prepared to provide their services on short notice, said Air Force Airman 1st Class Vanessa R. Zapata, a material management journeyman assigned to the 86th LRG and a native of Covina, Calif.
“Anyone going on a deployment through Ramstein Airbase, including Army personnel may end up in this facility to draw equipment, so it is important that they understand how we do things,” said Zapata. “If we all understand each other’s systems, it makes deployments and operations much simpler.”
From there, the group split into two. One group toured the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron, while the other toured the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The 86th VRS tour covered all areas the squadron is responsible for. The ‘First in Support’ detachment learned about all of the squadron’s processes from dispatching vehicles to maintenance procedures. They also toured several facilities including the maintenance bays and fabrication shop.
“We saw how they requisition parts and all of their specialty shops; it is very interesting to see how the Air Force performs all of these tasks within their organizations,” said Capt. Laura A. Hamilton, the end items logistics management deputy for the 21st TSC and a native of Woodbridge, Va. “All of the Air Force maintenance facilities are very specialized and streamlined.”
The group then toured the 86th LRS Traffic Management Office warehouse. The facility is comparable to the Army Supply Sustainment Activity, where parts are stored and distributed to the requisitioning unit. The 86th LRS warehouse, however, services all units on Ramstein Airbase.
“The warehouse was huge. It is so large that the Air Force has robots to assist in moving parts from one part of the warehouse to the other,” Hamilton said. “Just like their vehicle maintenance, this is a more centralized and streamlined version of what we have in the Army.”
As the visit came to a close, the 86th LRG afforded their Army guests the chance to ask questions on their operations. As the ‘First in Support’ delegation departed, all agreed the visit was a huge success.
“This visit was very beneficial for us. It definitely built the partnership between our branches,” Hamilton said. “I think we will all bring some lessons learned for logistics back to the 21st.”