Training is essential to master any given job. That’s what 22 members of the 184th Force Support Squadron did March 31-April 1 as they conducted field readiness training at McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita. Preparation for the exercise began long before March 31.
“We plan our training with the fiscal year and schedule our annual training around our Home Station Readiness training,” said Senior Master Sgt. Marla Urban, superintendent of Sustainment Service. “Months prior to the actual event, we finalize the training plan and schedule.”
“The total cumulation of days used can go into a solid week of planning and coordination,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Rollins, Sustainment Service noncommissioned officer in charge.
Urban and Rollins said there are a lot of pieces to be considered and wing partners to be contacted.
“We work with the Logistics Readiness Squadron, Civil Engineer Squadron, and, at times, Air Control Squadron,” said Urban. Urban said other considerations include determining the status for members’ active-duty orders vs regular scheduled drill, reserving equipment, planning the menu, assigning instructors based on skill levels and executing the training.
“First we plan a menu and order items through National Guard Bureau, who transmits the order through Defense Logistics Agency,” said Rollins. “Our items will then ship to the Logistics Readiness Squadron, who in turn contact us for pick up. Training items such as a small shelter system will be borrowed from 134th ACS. Next, an all-terrain forklift will be checked out from 184th LRS. Additional ladders and the training area will need to be reserved from Civil Engineering Squadron. Chemical gear will be checked out by all members through LRS. Finally, we initiate just-in-time training and go over with the members where the site will be and what the expectations are.”
And because people need to eat, the Airmen also constructed a Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen, a deployable tent-based field kitchen designed to support 550 personnel with three hot meals a day.
“It takes about an hour and a half to set up the feeding platform with an additional two and a half hours needed to prepare the meal,” said Rollins, “if all goes according to plan.”
Urban said the lessons learned during the exercise included how to properly disassemble, build/assemble and repack to repalletize; operating the 2kw generator, which is the primary source of power for the SPEK; how to operate, troubleshoot and shutdown during field feeding; safe operation of the tray ration heater with the SPEK while heating the group rations; the importance of communication and teamwork, taking advantage of team members’ strengths while building cohesive relationships; and how to assemble a small shelter system as a small dining facility.