Adapt and overcome: Log planners enable McConnell deployments

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michaela R. Slanchik
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — The need for military operations overseas does not change for a global pandemic. Team McConnell has adopted extra procedures to enable the mobility mission abroad.


Historically, the 22nd Air Refueling Wing has deployed around 400 Airmen annually to locations across the globe.  In order to continue this requirement during a global crisis, members must take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of themselves, their wingmen and the communities they travel to.


After an official deployment tasking is assigned, Airmen complete additional steps along with the traditional deployment process. The 22nd Medical Group public health office administers COVID-19 tests.


Members must have a negative test prior to departing to a designated restriction of movement location. Airmen will quarantine for 14 days and receive a second COVID-19 test before deploying.


To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the DoD has added additional protective measures to ensure installations such as McConnell are ready to deploy and execute the mission when called.


“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, changes from higher headquarters flowed rapidly; however, deployments did not stop,” said Lt. Col. Mitchell Parker, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “Our LRS team consistently adapted to the changes and worked closely with the Emergency Operations Center and Medical Group to implement processes and procedures to mitigate exposure to the virus and ensure zero delays in supporting the Combatant Commanders.”


To date, no McConnell Airmen have tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving to their deployed location, even entire squadrons.


“We were the first to deploy a full Air Refueling Squadron during the pandemic,” said Parker. “This required our teams to think outside the box and implement process changes that reduced risk to our own personnel and the deployers.”


The 22nd LRS logistic planners have prepared for countless scenarios. Year-round, log planners create training exercises to ensure the readiness of McConnell personnel and equipment for any real-world crisis, like the current pandemic.


“This is what we do, we plan for crisis,” said Master Sgt. Jamie Carela, 22nd Logistics Readiness squadron logistics plans flight superintendent. “Whether it’s a pandemic or a case of war, this is where logistics planners shine. We are the mobility machine.”


Team McConnell continues to align with the guidance from the Department of Defense, Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Center for Disease Control and local recommendations throughout the coronavirus pandemic.