22nd LRS: Moving McConnell

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tara Fadenrecht
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
During a base-wide exercise in October 2014, news came through that an F-16 Fighting Falcon had gone down 70 miles outside of McConnell Air Force Base near Moline, Kansas. However, this wasn't part of the exercise, it was a real-life emergency and representatives from the 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron were among the first to arrive on-scene.

The 22nd LRS coordinated with other agencies to set up a perimeter around the scene and worked the logistics on how to safely move people and supplies in and out of the area.

"I was part of for the recovery process when we pulled [the plane] out of the ground," said Capt. Rachel Petri-Rose, 22nd LRS deployments and distribution flight commander. "We [The 22nd LRS] had to work the logistics on that in terms of, 'how are we going to move this? What are the safety measures we need to take?'"

With the help of local authorities and other McConnell agencies, the 22nd LRS turned a potentially chaotic event into a successful recovery mission.

Real-world scenarios like this are the reason why the more than 200-person squadron regularly participates in training exercises.

During their most recent exercise, the team prepared seven cargo pallets and processed more than 40 Airmen for a simulated deployment.

These operations ensure that the 22nd LRS stays familiar and up-to-date with the procedures that make their job so important, said Tech. Sgt. Kevin McIntyre, 22nd LRS NCO in charge of cargo operations.

"Without the 22nd LRS you're not going to move your cargo," he said. "We control all movement whether it's by air or surface, in and out of [the base]. We can get Mcconnell's mission moved from here to an alternate location [if needed] so that we can continue our refueling mission."

Even when an exercise is underway, daily tasks still continue. A major part of the real-life mission includes preparing supplies to be transported.

Everything from extra aircraft parts to printers are among some of the items that are needed to support operations, but before any supplies are shipped, the 22nd LRS inspects, documents and weighs the cargo. It is important to make sure the equipment is in good working order and good condition and that any hazardous material is noted. This helps ensure the safety of the loading crew as well as the aircrew, said Petri-Rose.

"We ensure we are able to get the right people in the right places at the right time, equipped with what they need," said the flight commander.

Even when they're busy moving McConnell's assets, members of the 22nd LRS also manage to provide aid through humanitarian missions.

"We get supplies from a farmer in Heston, Kansas who collects donations for an orphanage in Haiti," said McIntyre. "We usually do this at least once a year, sometimes more. We have shipped everything from vehicles to building supplies, medical equipment and food."

Whether they are responding to a real-life emergency, participating in an exercise, or providing humanitarian support, the 22nd LRS is always moving. Every day they move parts of McConnell so the Air Force mission can continue anywhere at any time.