News>Reservists practice mission essential skills with 65th LRS
Senior Airman James Carson, 439th LRS, works with Senior Airman Doctavius French in the supply warehouse. Carson, who is also a stone mason and a student studying fire science, deployed to Lajes with his Reserve unit to perform on-the-job training for two weeks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angelique Smythe)
Airman 1st Class Wai Ming Ham, 439th Logistics Readiness Squadron, learns how to properly use a pallet jack at the supply warehouse from Staff Sgt. John Barnets, 65th LRS. Ham, who is approximately six months new to the Air Force and two months new to his Reserve unit, is here with other Airmen from the 439th LRS to receive two weeks of hands-on careerfield skills training from their 65th LRS active duty counterparts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angelique Smythe)
Tech. Sgt. Christopher Walters, 439th Logistics Readiness Squadron, deployed to Lajes with his Reserve unit to work and train with their 65th LRS active duty counterparts for two weeks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angelique Smythe)
by Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smythe
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
7/20/2012 - LAJES FIELD, Azores, Portugal -- Reservists normally work one weekend a month plus two weeks a year.
For their two-week training this year, 40 Reserve Airmen from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., deployed to Lajes Field to work with the 65th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
"Working one weekend a month doesn't give us a lot of training time, so we're using this opportunity for our younger Airmen to get a lot of hands-on training and help our active duty counterparts here," said Master Sgt. Kimberly Babin, 439th LRS first sergeant, who also serves as a director of the Department of Veteran Services in Massachusetts.
The team consists of mostly senior airmen and below who are working side-by-side with the 65th LRS in the vehicle maintenance, vehicle operations, fuels and supply flights from July 15 to 28.
"We're integrating right into the sections," said Lt. Col. Michael Buoniconti, 439th LRS commander, who also serves as the Superintendent of Schools for Mohawk Trail Regional in Massachusetts. "There's daily work that needs to be done and as that work presents itself, the host unit is dividing out the work and integrating the Reservists into those sections."
Some of the 439th's command support staff Airmen also deployed to Lajes. Although they learned after arrival that the 65th does not have a command support staff to shadow, they also got their hands dirty by visiting various sections within LRS, such as the vehicle operations flight.
"We went to vehicle operations to help wash and clean out the cars in preparation for a distinguished visitor's visit," said Senior Airman Alicia Hayes, 439th LRS. "They (65th LRS active duty members) showed us the type of inspections needed to be conducted before and after use to make sure the vehicles were safe for driving."
This training at Lajes allows the 439th Airmen a unique opportunity to deploy together, train together and build some camaraderie. Because the Reservists' logistics readiness team is generally not centrally located, the logisticians usually do not have many opportunities to train together.
"This helps with getting our Airmen qualified with their five-level skills and also serves as a refresher training," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Walters, a 439th LRS dispatch supporter, who also serves as a Department of Defense civilian for the Navy.
Buoniconti said this is his third year of command, and this is the first opportunity the unit has had to train together instead of one or two Airmen being sent to train in different locations.
"Being able to have almost half the squadron train and fight together is good stuff," he said. "I can see this is going extremely well from our side, and we're grateful for the opportunity to be here."
"The ability of both squadrons to quickly adapt and work together as one cohesive unit has made the transition seamless," said Maj. Bill Hesketh, 65th LRS director of operations. "This was evident when both the 65th LRS and the 439th hosted the 'SUM Dinner.' The Reservists volunteered to help us pay respect to the single and unaccompanied members here. Although the 439th is here for their two week annual tour, they are providing our LRS team an invaluable experience. Both units benefit from active duty and reservist training and working side-by-side. It's a joint effort."