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Behind the scenes: An inside look at 5th LRS deployment plans

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jonathan McElderry
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

Since December 2016, the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron deployment distributions flight at Minot Air Force Base planned and executed all logistics operations in preparation for a U.S. Central Command deployment.

The unit hosted at least three meetings every month for the deployment, according to 2nd Lt. Nicholas Chapman, 5th LRS logistics installation deployment officer.

“Our role is to communicate, coordinate, facilitate and follow up,” Chapman said. “When we learn that individuals are deploying, we bring them together to ensure all their specific deployment requirements are identified.”

Chapman added when the unit began building the mission format, it was identified that they needed so many personnel, to include pilots, mission planners, combat systems officers, maintainers, etc. He also said in order to support the mass deployment, more than 400 deployers and 290,000 pounds of cargo is needed.

The amount of deployers and cargo is based on how many people are needed to support each B-52H Stratofortress that deploys, added Tech. Sgt. Casey Wilson, 5th LRS logistics plans NCOIC.

These planners are also responsible for ensuring deployers complete all requirements leading up to their departure.

“We make sure individuals get the training needed, they out-process correctly and the cargo is inspected properly,” Chapman said. “For any mission tasked, we work together with maintenance and operations project officers to help take care of all deployment, lodging and transportation requirements.”

Prior to the deployment, the logistics planners ensure deployers go through a personnel deployment function line, which inspects all of their necessary paperwork.

“The PDF is one of our last checks before we send deployers out the door,” Chapman said. “Leading to this point, Airmen get weapons qualification, getting chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive agents and self-aid buddy care training to ensure they are medically cleared and ready to go.”

Planning the mass deployment also comes with various challenges.

“Manpower is one of the obstacles we face,” Wilson said. “We only have five logistics planners to facilitate this entire process.”

Wilson mentioned another challenge was communicating and distributing up-to-date information between the unit deployment managers and deployers, due to constant updates and changes throughout the process.

Despite the challenges, Wilson expressed pride in knowing her unit’s hard work to ensure the deployment went smoothly.

“There’s a lot of pride knowing that such a small office has worked on a mass deployment of this scale,” Wilson said. “I think everyone involved should be proud because it’s a long, intensive process.”

Chapman also talked about how this entire process has been a team effort between every unit within the 5th LRS.

“The deployment process becomes an entire LRS function because every flight within the squadron plays a role,” Chapman said. “Outside of our deployment distributions flight, the supply and equipment managers, vehicle operations, air terminal operations, fuels management and vehicle maintenance have all been heavily involved.”

Like Wilson, Chapman is proud to know the importance of their role in this deployment.

“This deployment process has gone smoothly and it shows how well our log planners did ensuring everything was ready to go,” Chapman said. “When everything runs smoothly, it means we’ve done our due diligence in planning correctly.”