News: Aircrew and maintainers swap at The Rock
Story by 1st Lt. Holli Nelson
SOUTHWEST ASIA - With the sun setting just above the flightline, Airmen of the 910th Air Reserve Station from Youngstown, Ohio and 153rd Airlift Wing from Cheyenne, Wyoming landed at The Rock. After a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean, they had arrived at their destination and are now preparing for a new undertaking, manning the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here.
Aircrews and maintainers from the 146th Airlift Squadron, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, California will hand over the reins to Airmen from 910th ARS, Youngstown, Ohio and 153rd Airlift Wing, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The California Guardsmen and women will walk away from their deployment experience with many accomplishments under their belt. They participated in Exercise EAGER LION 2014, a multi-national exercise involve more than 12,000 troops, helped aid in the Afghanistan elections and humanitarian relief efforts during the massive flooding as well as gained valuable experience on their aircraft through real-world missions each and every day.
"It was really good for new loadmasters to get the experience of being deployed here," said Master Sgt. Brian Miliefsky, 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130J loadmaster. "At home they fly training missions, but here they are actually doing real world missions hauling cargo and supplies to people who need it. They're going to be able to walk away with a lot of experience."
Serving under the 737th's Desert Foxes over the past few months, the Airmen stayed busy working and training every single day ensuring full mission capability on the C-130J Super Hercules.
The aircraft's primary mission is tactical airlift and aeromedical evacuation.
From the command perspective, Lt. Col. Daniel Pemberton, a Thousand Oaks, California native, feels that Airmen took away a better understanding and sense of interoperability with Active Duty and coalition partners.
"Knowing we were able to support operations around the Central Command area of responsibility is a great accomplishment," said Pemberton, who served as commander of the 737th EAS. "We now get to return home and serve our state as a part of our unique dual mission as National Guard members."
Pemberton also offered advice to the new crews and maintainers.
"Maintain flexibility and stay positive," he said. "As days grow long and the heat rises things can become difficult, but maintaining that positive attitude will go a long way in ensuring mission completion and a safe working environment."
The 146th Airlift Wing is departing with an outstanding 98 percent mission effectiveness rate which could not have been accomplished without the hard work and dedication by all members of the Marauder team.
"They set a high level of mission execution to support United States Central Command requirements in the Arabian Gulf region. They can and should be proud of their accomplishments that enabled our wing to fight today and be prepared for any mission in the future," said Col. Joe Santos, 386th Expeditionary Operations Group commander.
"There is no doubt that the proud members of the 910th and 153rd Airlift Wings can and will continue to support any and all airlift requirements with the same level of professionalism, precision, and effectiveness."