DVIDS – News – Rolling with the Blows (and the Waves) – 183rd Airlift Squadron Completes Annual Training in Hawaii


Stay flexible. This is the key to air power. Members of the 183rd Airlift Squadron, 172nd Maintenance Group, Jackson, Mississippi, and 186th Air Refueling Wing, Meridian, Mississippi, met multiple challenges at Barbers Point Air Station, Kapolei, Hawaii, to successfully complete the annual training in July.

“We launched with a plan, and expected it to change, depending on operations and maintenance factors,” said Lt. Col. Chipper Woodruff, current chief of operations for 183 Airlift Squadron. . “We see what is happening around the world; in Europe, in the Pacific,” Woodruff said. “It’s training like this that allows us to go a very long distance, mount an operation and execute it. It gives the impression of being deployed forward.

Planners initially designed a simple air-to-air refueling training mission with KC-135 tankers from the 186th Air Refueling Wing. However, operating in remote environments often presents unique value-added training opportunities.

“Take the transportation plan, for example,” Woodruff said. “We thought we had sewn it up, but with our staff moved to several locations on the island [of Oahu,] we had to get creative. Teams were put together, shuttles and carpools had to be worked out, and schedules had to be designed. And when a hydraulic pump grounded one of the C-17 Globemaster III jets mid-training, members of the 172nd Maintenance Group immediately began coordinating with units on the island to find a replacement pump, acquire it and install it. This pushed maintainers who were operating in an environment over 4,000 miles from home and still had three more critical C-17s to support.

“We were able to get vital training that we’re not usually able to get at home,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Clifton, first sergeant of the 172nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “Wherever we’re going, it’s our job to keep these jets running, and the maintenance crew that was in Hawaii did a phenomenal job of troubleshooting, sourcing parts and fixing this plane.”

“We owe our maintainers a huge debt of gratitude,” Woodruff said. “Given how professional they are, the challenges we encountered did not affect the flight mission, and not a single sortie was lost.”

Off-station training not only produces more flexible Airmen; it builds stronger teams.

“You’re outside the parameters you’re used to doing business in,” Woodruff said. “Challenges arise and you realize that you have to lean a little more on the people around you.” This combination of factors generates what Woodruff described as “magic”.

“That’s where the magic happens,” Woodruff said. “These types of conditions form stronger relationships between individuals, make units collectively stronger, and improve our ability to execute our warfare specialty.”

Airmen of the 172nd Airlift Wing continue to maintain and operate a fleet of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft that provide flexible, world-class strategic and tactical airlift in support of Command Authority objectives. national, as well as goals of the governor of Mississippi.

Date taken: 15.08.2022
Date posted: 15.08.2022 12:33
Story ID: 427268
Location: JACKSON, MS, United States

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