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One squadron, many missions

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rito Smith
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Most Air Force squadrons work toward a common mission that could be summarized in one word—communications, security, or logistics, for example. But the 451st Expeditionary Support Squadron at Kandahar Airfield isn’t like most squadrons.

The 451st ESPTS is a blended squadron that encompasses six functions normally found in a mission support group, but as flights rather than separate squadrons. The squadron comprises communications, logistics, services, personnel accountability, civil engineering and security forces flights. They provide full spectrum mission support to the 451st Air Expeditionary Group and all Airmen at Kandahar.

“Every capability that we have is critical to empowering aircraft to fly,” said Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Jeffers, 451st ESPTS superintendent. “Each Airman in our squadron is intimately involved in the mission every single day. These are young Airmen and officers are branching out and growing into leadership positions they have never been put into before, and they are excelling.”

Consistent and accurate communication is essential to mission success and their ability to provide everything mission partners could need.

“We learn a little bit of combat communication when we get here,” said Lt. Col. Melissa Hull, 451st ESPTS commander. “We have to be willing to step out of our offices and go out to visit Airmen and effectively communicate with them. These Airmen are very young in their careers, but they are very capable, and they are learning and proving themselves every day.”

Flexibility is key because the roles Airmen step into at the squadron is often very different from what Airmen perform at their home stations. 

“I am motivated every single day to come into work because I know that my Airmen are giving it everything to make sure that aircraft get parts they need or the airfield is secure at all times,” Hull said. “They make me proud to be their commander and I don’t think I could be in a better position in my career. These Airmen have continually exceeded every level of expectation.”

This group of Airmen are responsible for mission success by keeping the base running smoothly and effectively.

“We have been hugely successful in our endeavors, and I am proud of the services that we can provide to our mission partners,” Jeffers said. “They (ESPTS Airmen) take everything they learn throughout their careers and execute it perfectly here and that is so important because of the smaller footprint we have here.”

The civil engineering flight maintains the structural integrity of the base and plans for renovations, while the logistics flight is responsible for ordering parts and ensuring equipment is planned for shipment to other locations.

The communications flight is responsible is responsible for maintaining communications throughout the base and fixing any issues with email, phones, or computers. The security forces flight maintains security of all assets on the flightline and personnel assigned to the base.

The services flight is responsible for leading dining facility personnel and planning morale events across the base, and the PERSCO flight is responsible for maintaining records and accountability of all personnel assigned to the 451st AEG and personnel currently at the base.

The 451st ESPTS is part of the 451st Air Expeditionary Group, a geographically separated unit of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing headquartered at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The wing supports Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support mission.