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419th LRS supports special operations group at Hurlburt Field

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Robert Porter
  • 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. – Air Force reservists from the 419th Logistics Readiness Squadron traveled to Hurlburt Field, Florida, July 17-31 for annual training with the 1st Special Operations Group.

The LRS includes reservists in fuel management, traffic management operations, logistics, and more. They were accompanied on the trip by reservists from the commander support staff, chaplain’s office, and public affairs office for a total of 27 Reserve Airmen.

Reservists train at minimum two days a month and two weeks a year in order to maintain mission readiness. Their two-week annual tour, often conducted away from home station, is an opportunity to work alongside other Airmen, gain experience in varied missions areas, and development broader skills.

“It’s really good for our Airmen to get out and do missions with other bases,” said Capt. Colby May, officer in charge with the 419th LRS. “They can step in and do the work where the mission may be a little bit busier than at home station. And they also get to integrate with active duty and see what it’s like to work a day in the life of an active-duty Airman.”

Airmen in fuels management had the opportunity to train on barge fueling. Fuel barges like the one the reservists trained on are capable of carrying up to two million gallons of fuel, and are the principle method that fuel is transported to Hurlburt Field and other seaside bases.

“As traditional reservists out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, we don’t get this opportunity very often. It’s a unique operation, so it’s a very good training opportunity for us,” said Master Sgt. Wesley Jones, 419th LRS fuels operations chief. “This is the first time we’ve had to receive fuel via barge – typically we are receiving via pipeline or commercial tank truck.”

Fuels reservists can be deployed in support of any Air Force operation around the world, including locations that, like Hurlburt Field, receive fuel by barge.

Staff Sgt. Taylor Holden, traffic management journeyman, was the only traffic management troop to travel to Hurlburt Field with the 419th LRS, and worked hand-in-hand with active-duty Airmen completing a real-world mission.

“At Hill we don’t have an active cargo mission,” Holden said. “Being here and getting that hands-on experience is really helpful, especially for going down range in the future.”

Logistics management troops stepped in to load 6,000 pounds of cargo, and were also able to build up a pallet of materiel in support of real-world deployments. When 419th LRS reservists deploy, they can be attached to any unit in the Air Force, and must be qualified and have experience working on multiple airframes.

The LRS was supported during the trip by reservists on the commander support staff. Often unnoticed, CSS works behind the scenes to ensure each Airman has the proper authorizations in the defense travel system, government travel cards to cover travel costs, and ensure personnel are reimbursed and paid on time.

“Prior to our departure, we helped secure everyone’s orders and ensure government travel card and defense travel system accounts were good to go,” said Master Sgt. Teaka Bartley, CSS member with the 419th Mission Support Group. “We take that burden and stress away so that Airmen can focus and enjoy their annual tour.”

The annual tour also provided an opportunity for CSS to apply their training in real-world travel situations. Throughout the stay, the CSS contingent could be found huddled around their computers, fielding calls from Airmen, and resolving issues with travel vouchers.

After duty hours, the reservists participated in two service projects coordinated by the chaplain and first sergeant. Airmen volunteered at a local Salvation Army to organize clothing, and later provided landscaping services at a retirement community for prior enlisted members of the armed forces.

For video of the annual tour, visit the 419th YouTube channel.