22nd MSG: Working behind the scenes

  • Published
  • By Col. Mark Evans
  • 22nd Mission Support Group commander
Many of you know that McConnell is the Air Force's largest tanker wing and we are very busy here making sure we accomplish our mission of providing aerial refueling support around the world.

But you might know there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make sure we can launch those missions.

Here in the 22nd Mission Support Group, we work long, hard hours to ensure the mission gets accomplished. Because our responsibilities touch every aspect of people's lives, one of the things we often say is that, "in the mission support group , if everything goes well nobody notices, but if anything goes wrong, everybody notices."

Here are just a few examples of things we've done recently that many people might not have noticed:

In the early morning hours of April 4, 2012, a raccoon entered Westar Electric's switch station off-base, creating an electric short that caused significant damage to the electrical devices. The primary feeder for McConnell lost power, causing power outages on family housing side as well as main base. Electrical stand-by personnel from our 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron responded immediately, isolated the primary feeder, tied it to the alternate feeder and restored power to all areas within an hour. Additionally, on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, squadron personnel responded to a water break in the military family housing area next to Wineteer Elementary School. They quickly isolated the valve and stopped the water break before any significant damage could occur.

Last month, members of our 22nd Contracting Squadron transitioned all of our medical group's contracted clinical support services from an expiring Air Force Medical Service contract to a new contract. Despite an extremely short lead time, they diligently worked late nights and weekends to ensure all clinical support service requirements were prepared. They put in more than 150 extra man-hours in order to award the contract in time to avoid any lapse in these critical services - benefiting more than 23,000 people who depend on the McConnell clinic.

When a recent storm cut power to our main base communications facility, taking down services base-wide, our 22nd Communication Squadron personnel worked tirelessly over the weekend to repair infrastructure lines and ensure that all services were back on-line before the main McConnell workforce came back to work the following Monday. Additionally, after the recent tornado strike, our Airmen worked hand in hand with Cox Communications to restore commercial services the next day, restoring our first-responders 911 access and providing communications with community response teams.

Every month, members of the base honor guard, part of our 22nd Force Support Squadron, perform more than 600 hours,traveling and conducting retirement ceremonies, funerals for fallen warriors and honors at sporting events across a three-state area. And unfortunately, our mortuary officer, casualty officer and mortuary technician have already been called upon six times this year to take care of active duty, civilians and family members in their time of greatest need. Regardless of the day or hour, our force support squadron stands ready to help our families.

On April 13, as McConnell faced the serious prospect of being hit by a devastating tornado, members of our 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron came in on Friday night and Saturday to refuel planes, move aircrew and support the evacuation of our KC-135 Stratotankers, helping avoid what would have been extreme damage to aircraft. Additionally, squadron personnel worked throughout a recent weekend to support President Obama's one-year-later visit to Joplin, MO. When the contracted truck support fell through, 22nd LRS had a crew ready to load trucks within two hours and assigned two drivers to transport the equipment ourselves, ensuring that the presidential aircraft support equipment made it to Joplin in time for the visit.

On April 14, as a tornado barreled down on McConnell, our 22nd Security Forces personnel were out patrolling the base looking for individuals unaware of the imminent danger. They swept through the housing area announcing the tornado warning with the public address system, notified the dorm residents, and stopped by lodging to warn the staff and guests, braving the golf ball-sized hail to gather the individuals and get them inside to a safe place for protection. As the storm subsided, patrols conducted sweeps to identify damage and look for injured personnel. Finding the front door of the shoppette knocked off its hinges, they responded to the scene and provided security until the property manager could get to the store.

So rest assured, even if many folks don't notice, the 22nd MSG is hard at work every day providing the mission support necessary to make sure the mission doesn't abort.