Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

October 24, 2011 at 4:30am

McChord Reserve flying squadron commander takes on unique mission in Turkey

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The mission of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout U.S. Central Command.

One might imagine the many leadership and organizational qualities it would take to lead a unit with such an essential mission.

One might also imagine those qualities are of great concern to Lt. Col. Tony Angello, 313th Airlift Squadron commander, who is preparing to take on command of the squadron at the end of October.

"With Angello, we expect nothing but excellence," said Lt. Col. James Dignan, 446th Operations Group commander. "He's proved he's one of the best with his active-duty experience, search and rescue missions, his familiarity of the C-17, and his combat experience. It's his skills, experience, and volunteerism that landed him as the (313th AS) commander."

As the 817th EAS commander, Angello will be responsible for commanding C-17 Globemaster III flight operations in U.S. CENTCOM, overseeing about 100 Reserve and active-duty Airmen, deployed to Incirlik AB and the squadron detachment in Manas, Kyrgyzstan for the next two months.

This mission is unique, said Dignan. It is tasked directly to Team McChord.

Angello says this is the perfect opportunity to strengthen the bond for Team McChord overseas.

"We'll be providing C-17 operational excellence in Afghanistan," said the Seattle resident. "We'll also enhance and expand the great associate relationship between the 446th and 62nd AW here at McChord Field."

According to Angello, being deployed as commander is the best way to help foster that bond.

"I am the first 446th AW squadron commander from McChord to command an active-duty C-17, deployed squadron," said the veteran with a combined 21 years of active-duty and Reserve experience.

Dignan says with the 446th supporting 10 percent of the steady-state requirement for the 817th EAS mission, Angello getting deployed as the commander makes a big impact for the 446th AW.

"The (446th AW) crews make up only 10 percent of the mission in Turkey," said Dignan. "But that 10 percent makes a big difference in the contribution to the mission over there and the active duty truly appreciates it."

Of course, when any Reserve Airmen deploys overseas for a significant amount of time, their civilian employer makes a sacrifice. Fortunately for Angello, his employer doesn't make it harder for him to leave.

"Alaska Airlines is very supportive of its Reserve military employees and wishes me luck on my deployment," said the Boeing 737 first officer.

Dignan also acknowledges Angello's willingness to deploy.

"He put his name in the hat, not knowing whether he'd get selected for the mission or how long he would be away from home," said Dignan. "He knew he would have to make those sacrifices. His volunteerism and will to get the job done make him perfect for this assignment."

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