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United we deploy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ashley L. Gardner
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing/Public Affairs

The 350th Air Refueling Squadron, from McConnell Air Force Base is bringing change to the deployment process.

Lt. Col. Kevin White, 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron commander, led the implementation of the new process during their recent deployment to Al Udeid.

For the first time in twenty years air refueling units are deploying as squadrons. The 350th ARS, McConnell AFB, Kansas, 91st ARS from MacDill AFB, Florida, and 384th ARS from Fairchild AFB, Washington are participating in a year-long trial to test the squadron deployment structure.

In the past, a lot of refueling Airmen were deploying alone or in pairs. With units deploying, not only do they know each other but they have the opportunity to train together and lean on each other while deployed while executing the mission.

“When we’re out here, we’re able to build that comradery, once we go back home and train together we are going to be much more cohesive,” said Senior Master Sgt. David Lang, 28th EARS superintendent. “Not only did we fly together as a unit, we come home together, we supported each other and our families.”

Leading such a drastic change to the way they deploy comes with challenges. The leadership team had to make arrangements on how the team would deploy as a whole.

“Being the first to execute this new construct, we had to figure out the best way to deploy an entire squadron,” said Lt. Col. Kevin White, 28th EARS commander. “We are trying to change the way an entire community deploys to make it better for the Airmen.”

To address the potential challenges, the 350th ARS leadership team presented a plan to Air Mobility Command headquarters to illustrate how the squadron deployment structure would work.

“We made a five year plan on how to implement squadron deployments happen,” said White. “Our hope is that the lessons we’ve learned will not be repeated by the next group. Our goal is for the process to continuously get better and better over time.”