MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Since December 2016, the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron deployment and distributions flight Installation Deployment Readiness Cell at Minot Air Force Base planned and executed all logistics operations in preparation for a U.S. Central Command deployment.
Leading up to the deployment, the IDRC hosted at least three meetings every month with key personnel from around the base, according to 2nd Lt. Nicholas Chapman, 5th Bomb Wing installation deployment officer.
“Our role is to communicate, coordinate, facilitate and follow up,” Chapman said. “When we learn that 5th BW Airmen are deploying, we bring functional experts from across the wing together to ensure all deployment requirements are identified and met.”
Chapman added when the unit began building the mission format, it was identified they needed a variety of personnel, to include pilots, mission planners, combat systems officers, maintainers, etc.
“This deployment was larger and more intricate than any the 5th BW has seen in the last twelve years,” Chapman said. “We had to ensure multiple units had all the personnel and equipment needed to support sustained combat operations in USCENTCOM, to include more than 400 personnel and 290,000 pounds of cargo.”
The IDRC, 5th Force Support Squadron installation personnel readiness and the unit deployment managers are also responsible for ensuring deployers completed all requirements leading up to their departure.
“The PDF is one of our last checks before we send deployers out the door,” Chapman said. “Leading to this point, Airmen get weapons qualified, receive hands on training and are medically cleared by the 5th Medical Group Public Health office.”
Planning a deployment of this size and scope also comes with various challenges.
“We do not conduct deployments of this scale regularly,” said Tech. Sgt. Casey Wilson, 5th LRS logistics plans NCOIC. “We only have five logistics planners to facilitate the entire process.”
Despite the challenges, Wilson expressed pride in knowing her team’s hard work ensured the deployment went smoothly.
“There’s a lot of pride knowing that such a small office facilitated a deployment of this scale,” Wilson said. “I think everyone involved should be proud to have conducted this deployment with zero movement delays.”
Chapman also talked about how this entire process has been a team effort between every section within the 5th LRS.
“The deployment process becomes an entire LRS function,” Chapman said. “The supply and equipment managers, vehicle operations, air terminal operations, traffic management office, fuels management and vehicle maintenance have all been heavily involved.”
Like Wilson, Chapman is proud to know the importance of their role in this deployment.
“This deployment process has gone smoothly and it shows how well the deployment machine did in ensuring everything was ready to go,” Chapman said. “When everything runs smoothly, it means we’ve done our due diligence.”