JET/IA Airmen bring expertise to the battlefield

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

With Airmen and civilians scattered across 20 different locations in Afghanistan doing jobs such as training Afghans to fly helicopters, keeping their outposts secured with inspections or installing upgraded water pumps for local villages, the 955th Air Expeditionary Squadron plays a role in each of their endeavors.

 

If the U.S. Army, NATO or another service need a specific capability from Air Force personnel,  Airmen and Air Force civilians attach to that service as joint expeditionary taskings or individual augmentees—bringing along their expertise.

 

With Airmen attached to other services, the 955th AES gives them a stable entity to reach out to for any of their needs.

 

“Our number one priority is accountability when it comes to putting our Airmen in the hands of someone else,” said Lt. Col. Rebb Jones, 955th Air Expeditionary Squadron commander. “We have Airmen out there doing awesome things, and our job is to let them focus on the mission at hand.”

 

From the start, the squadron ensures their members know they are their go-to for any information, finance, legal, travel and even personal matters.

 

Even once at their deployed locations, Jones said they keep the communication lines flowing to keep up with their Airmen.

 

“Every week we try to visit as many of the Airmen as possible,” Jones said. “We established this Blue Line Warrior Program with embedded volunteer Airmen to be the first line for resources and support for JET/IA to reach out to.”

 

Along with the wide-range of locations, Airmen come from an assortment of career fields, adding to the unique capabilities of the unit, Jones added.

 

“Our staff of less than 20 is responsible for more than 350 personnel with about 100 different AFSCs (Air Force Specialty Codes) serving all throughout the country,” Jones said. “Our motto is ‘Airmen taking care of Airmen’ and you can see that in every single decision made in this office.”

 

These Airmen, ranging from medical personnel, engineers, logistics, intelligence, weather, cyber and personnelists work alongside Afghan Special Forces to the Ministry of Defense.

 

As the 955th AES focuses their mission on their Airmen, the JET/IA focus on enabling NATO’s Resolute Support train, advise and assist campaign by working directly with Afghan partners helping to create a better Afghanistan. They are also in combat alongside Afghan security forces and the Afghan National Army outside the wire defending the country from insurgents and terrorists, helping to stabilize the country.

 

Capt. Danielle Caudill, 955th AES director of operations, found her background in force support helped her handle her challenging yet fulfilling duties.

 

“Even on the tough days, you just have to remember what you’re here for, you’re here to support the Airmen out there doing amazing things,” Caudill said. “You just have to be flexible and creative because nothing about this job is standard.”

 

Caudill, who is on her first deployment, added all of her hard work is worth it, noting she has never been closer to the mission than right now.

 

Although these Airmen fall under their tactical command for normal daily operations, the 955th AES holds administrative control, guaranteeing their customers are taken care of and accomplishing their missions.