Back to News Front

446th Logistics Readiness Flight airmen to train on fighters in Japan

Logistics readiness flight airmen anticipate a lot busier base

Master Sgt. Dustin Wilkerson, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight fuels craftsman, teaches members of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force about the different equipment used for his career field on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 21, 201

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Different bases with different missions offer Reservists a wider range of training opportunities. Such is the case with 18 Airmen in the 446th Logistics Readiness Flight, who are leaving over the next few days for Kadena Air Base, Japan.

For two weeks, the Reservists from McChord Field will put their skills to use at a base dominated by fighter aircraft.

"We rotate through different areas of the world for our training," said Capt. Diana Costa, 446th LRF and troop commander the the trip. "The goal is to enhance Reservists' current knowledge in their AFSCs (Air Force Specialty Codes) and make connections. We have five different AFSCs in the group."

Going to a base with fighters, according to Master Sgt. Ian Ramos, fuels operations supervisor, will be particularly beneficial to the fuels specialists in the flight.

"We'll be dealing with fighters and heavies; quite a mix of aircraft," said Ramos. "There are planes there that you don't really get anywhere else. But the fighters are the big benefit because we don't deal with fighters here at all. Last year we did our annual tour at Hickam (Air Force Base, Hawaii), and even there we didn't really deal with a lot of fighters."

Dealing with fighters versus transport planes like the C-17 here offers the fuel specialists many more opportunities to training.

"Kadena is a lot busier base than we are here, so it's going to give these guys some real good hands on time that we just don't get here on an annual tour; the base just isn't busy enough," said Ramos. "We don't deal with the same volume of aircraft here; we still deal with the volume of fuel though. It's one thing to go out and put a whole lot of fuel on one plane versus a little bit of fuel on 30 planes."

When at McChord Field, the Reserve fuels specialists can often go through a unit training assembly weekend. Ramos anticipates plenty of fuel runs for the Reservists at Kadena.

"Some of our guys can go two or three UTAs without making a fuel run here," said Ramos, a 10-year Reserve veteran. "What I'm really looking forward to is everybody is going to be out every day for nine to 10 planes a piece, versus one plane every couple of months. For our career field you really need the repetition so leadership can feel comfortable with them doing their job in a safe manner."

According to Ramos, annual tours like this are a great opportunity to come together as a unit. That sentiment is echoed by Airman 1st Class Kari Rhodus, a knowledge operations management journeyman.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to just be with my own team in a close knit setting like that; we only see each other once a month and because I'm in the orderly room most of the time, I only get to see most of them when they come in to sign in and out," said Rhodus, who has only been in the Air Force Reserve for eight months. "So I'm really excited just to get to know them better because we'll be spending two whole weeks together. "

Arriving at McChord at the end of January, Rhodus, a former child care pre-school teacher at Hurlburt Field, Fla., will be going overseas for the first time with this deployment.

"I've done some research on places to go in Japan and I've researched the base. We've been in contact with the people who will be training with us. They've been great. We got a list of different options that we have for training. I've only been to a couple of different bases myself (with her active-duty husband), so seeing what it's like in a different culture should be an exciting experience all around."

In the past, the LRF airmen have traveled to Europe for their annual training.

"We never want to do the same place twice and the mission is different. It's good for our younger guys to get out and see different missions and Kadena has a huge mission compare to what we've seen anywhere else," said Ramos.

Part of the huge mission is also a unique program.

"They do some things there you don't usually get to see in the Air Force, like cryo production," Ramos explains. "That's cryogenic production, it's liquid oxygen used on the airplanes. Kadena and Guam are the only two Air Force ran places that produce their own cryogenic products. We ship ours in here.

"We all deal with the liquid oxygen, but none of the guys, including myself, have ever gotten to see a production plant and the process. That's an opportunity we may not ever get again. It gives the guys a real good understanding of the process and the safety needs and the reasons why we're so cautions with any of this stuff we do. Cryogenics is a very, very important part of flying. Yea sure, fuel will get you there, but without liquid oxygen on the plane, pilots can't breathe," said Ramos.

Some of the 18 Reservists with the 446th LRF left today for Kadena AB, the rest will follow on Monday. All will return in about two-weeks.

Sandra Pishner is with the 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs.

Read next close

Rocket Science

Pilot training more efficient at McChord Field

comments powered by Disqus