Real value in training together

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Julia Santiago
  • 108th Wing

The 141st Air Refueling Squadron and 150th Special Operations Squadron, New Jersey Air National Guard, completed 205 separate ground mission readiness and flying training events from Feb. 8-10, 2019 at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida.

“This TDY [temporary duty] was a chance for the Airmen in our unit to go somewhere together, spend time together, and build camaraderie,” said Lt. Col. Bill Liess, the deputy commander of the 108th Operations Group. “There is real value in that.”

Training included combat arms training and maintenance, water survival, life support, intelligence and tactics, self-aid and buddy care, and many more. “We achieved more training in these two-to-three days than we could over the course of multiple drill weekends,” said Liess. “It was a highly efficient use of people’s time.”

Coordination of a formation air refueling with a C-17 Globemaster III from the 437th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina was also accomplished. “Getting a formation air refueling scheduled is difficult and we managed to get this training accomplished very early in the year,” said Liess.

As the 141st ARS’s aerospace medical technicians, Staff Sgts. Daniel Hansen and Nicole Marcus were selected to instruct the SABC class. “We were excited for the opportunity to build more rapport with our patients in the 141st,” said Hansen and Marcus. “When we build camaraderie with them, they open up more making caring for them that much easier. This trip did a really good job of bringing people together to focus on the mission.”

Initially, the idea to do a training TDY in Florida was pushed during the summer of 2018. This joint training mission between the 141st and 150th squadrons going together would be a first for the 108th Wing said Liess.

It took a lot of planning to pull it together and Master Sgt. Steve Ritter, from the 150th SOS, and Senior Master Sgt. David Falkowski, from the 141st ARS, were the head coordinators for the trip.

“They were instrumental in putting everything together,” said Liess. “They even came two days ahead of everyone else to work out transportation and logistical issues.”

In addition to the 141st ARS and 150th SOS, there were other units that provided support for the TDY with a total of 57 participants from Tennessee and New Jersey. Participating units included the 164th Airlift Wing, Tennessee Air National Guard, 305th Operations Support Squadron, U.S. Air Force from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., as well as the 204th Intelligence Squadron, 108th Security Forces Squadron, 108th Maintenance Group, 108th Medical Group, and 108th Operations Support Squadron, all from the 108th Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard.