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JET/IA Airmen keep mission moving at Al Asad

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Daryn Murphy
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Joint Expeditionary Tasked/Individual Augmentees, or simply known as JET/IA, consists of over 450 Airmen and Guardians spread throughout 13 countries in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility who provide support for Operation Inherent Resolve through various career fields. Airmen from different bases and backgrounds come together to ensure the mission is accomplished.

One such group of five JET/IA Airmen, whom would usually fall under a conventional Logistics Readiness Squadron, sit at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

“We are a contingency operations supply basically… we have three material managers and two [Traffic Management Office] personnel,” said Master Sgt. Charles Willis, Special Operation Forces and Logistics Element superintendent. “We’ve been assigned to support the AC-130W and provide them with all their logistical needs…whether that be transportation, aerial port, anything like that.”

For a time, the AC-130W would operate in Iraq to provide tactical airlift to forces in the region. It was then relocated within the theater to continue to support the CENTCOM mission. With its relocation, the JET/IA team had to change direction in the way they supported the fight. They began to facilitate the reduction of parts for the aircraft at the base.

“We had over one thousand shipments kicked out and had to consolidate and move over seven thousand line items,” Willis explained. “The team had to do the inventory - counting, sorting, processing. Our TMO Airmen had to coordinate with customs that went out to fill about four thousand supply slots.”

The team was also able to salvage about 62 thousand pounds of brass which would help the Air Force recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Two Senior Airmen filling upper level Air Force TMO billets led the way to ensure three years’ worth of discrepancies were rectified before winding down their deployment.

“When we first got here, the mission was very cut and dry. We understood what we were responsible for - receiving cargo and sending it out and supporting the mission for the gunships” explained Senior Airman Autumn Rivas, Special Operations Forces Logistics Element TMO inbound and outbound receiving.

Once their mission of supporting the gunship came to a close, the team had to switch gears quickly to the new challenge of reducing their footprint at Al Asad.

“We’ve never experienced anything like that,” Rivas said. “So learning the different procedures was a big thing. We got out of our comfort zone doing jobs that aren’t necessarily in our job description like building pallets and delivering parts, stuff like that.”

The team not only overcame the challenges of working outside of their normal parameters but excelling in a high threat environment.

“You know any attacks that happen here, I would say like the other day we had to stay up all night and work all day.” Rivas said when talking about real world threats. “It hasn’t been the easiest thing. We do what we need to do to get things done, work at different paces and stagger things when they need to be staggered.”

Even though the odds may have been against a lesser squad, Willis said his team is bringing home a win.

“They were diligent and heavy hitters coming in here working with who they needed to work with and were the driving force for a lot of things coming in and going out this base, it was phenomenal watching them work. You know, you wouldn’t imagine that there was just five of us with the amount of stuff we pushed in and out of here, but it was just an overall great experience,” said Willis.