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380AEW Article

Total Force Integration gets the job done in a deployed location

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Some things in life you can do alone; such as play golf, read a book, binge watch your favorite streaming television series.

In the Air Force, there are a few things you cannot do alone; dominate Air and Space superiority, defend multiple geographical regions, ensure rapid global mobility, and deliver global strike anywhere in the world.

You need a team to accomplish the mission.

That’s exactly what the U.S. Air Force has in its arsenal. A diverse team comprised of Active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilians.

The full scope of the Air Force team can be seen day in and day out at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said, “To remain the world’s most dominant Air Force, it’s important that we have the right Airmen with the right skill set and the right attitude in the right place at the right time.”

The 301st Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla, an Air Force Reserve squadron, provides the 380th Expeditionary Operations Group with a large amount of experienced pilots and instructors.

“With more instructors and experienced pilots in the squadron it allows younger pilots to learn more and at a faster rate,” said Capt. Ference, an F-22 pilot assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron currently stationed at Al Dhafra.

The 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron host several KC-10 Extender aircraft and flight crews.

Capt. Gabriel Miller, KC-10 Extender pilot, received his first notice of a deployment tasking in 2010 while on active duty. Now, a reservist working side-by-side with his active duty counterparts, stated it gives him a different perspective on leadership.

“As a Reservist I fly three different jets, one with the Air Force and two with my company. The opportunity to fly different aircraft has given me more perspective on aviation and has helped to hone my skills,” said Miller.

The primary mission of the KC-10 Extender is aerial refueling. With the 95 EFS actively involved in operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, it’s imperative to have air refueling capabilities close by.

“It is a great benefit for us to be able to takeoff with the same aircraft that will be providing our fuel for our mission,” said Ference. “It cuts out the variables associated with rejoining with a tanker from another base. We’re also able to talk with the crews [locally] frequently and get a grasp of each other's capabilities to further improve the mission.”

The F-22 Raptor is able to perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions and has a significant capability to attack surface targets. In the air-to-ground configuration, the aircraft can carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions internally and will use on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support.

“I'm most excited that we are able to provide our troops on the ground the ability to operate freely without the fear of enemy aircraft executing air to ground strikes on their locations,” said Ference.