The successful move of operations to and from Moses Lake is a visible testament to teamwork

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jim O'Connell
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Inspector General
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller
     During these hectic times, rare is the opportunity to sit back and reflect. The Runway Opening Ceremony was such an opportunity to do just that and help put the last 10 months in perspective. Team Fairchild accomplished some incredible feats during the runway closure; operating from multiple locations and seamlessly supporting and excelling at all higher headquarters taskings.
     As it was, I was extremely humbled at being recognized during the ceremony. Though I was the Detachment Commander, I was just one of more than 1,300 Airmen who rotated through Moses Lake. All I could think about were the numerous organizations and professionals in the audience and elsewhere who made immense contributions to the successful execution of our mission to transition operations to Grant County International Airport and then back to Fairchild. These 'giants' are the unsung heroes who are the reasons for our success.
      This phenomenal team created and then flawlessly executed our game plan. The results speak for themselves - 1,240 sorties launched and recovered, four exercises, 43 Operation Noble Eagle launches, 218 TACC missions, 1,100 receivers supported, 12 KC-135 periodic evaluations and more than 4.7 million gallons of fuel uploaded into our KC-135s, just to name a few accomplishments.
     As the Detachment Commander at Moses Lake, I had the honor and privilege to work with a team of "giants" representing a broad, cross-section of Airmen and civilians from this base. To quote Vince Lombardi, "The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual." While many individuals contributed to our team's success; only a few are mentioned below. These key players made all the difference. 
     Over a year before the first aircraft landed at GCIA, a team led by Mr. Jeff Johnson, 92nd Mission Support Group duputy commander, orchestrated the planning for the move of our assets to Moses Lake. It took meticulous coordination with a whole host of base and other agencies to work the plethora of issues associated with moving our mission and bedding down our personnel and aircraft at GCIA . These issues included everything from food and lodging, command and control, security, facilities, contracts, safety, force protection, maintenance processes and communications to emergency management. Fostering relationships, Johnson worked closely with officials from GCIA, the FAA and Big Bend Community College.
     Mr. Mike Dery and his team from the 92nd Logistic Readiness Squadron oversaw the movement of more than 570 pieces of equipment (everything from vehicles to pallets to barriers). His team worked closely with our Army brethren to have upwards of 15 flatbed trailers available per day for our moves to and from Moses Lake. Furthermore, LRS had an integral role in the successful deployment of more than 100 Team Fairchild Airmen and 31,000 pounds of cargo on 5 aircraft for Operation Odyssey Dawn. Because of Team Fairchild's efforts, the base received deployment credit for our upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection.
     Lieutenant Scott Smith and his team from the 92nd Communications Squadron were in place weeks before the Moses Lake Advance Team. They ran more than 2,300 feet of cable for radio and network connectivity, established 41 classified and unclassified computer stations and set-up LMR base stations and UHF/VHF radios.
     Master Sgt. Wayne Spradley and Staff Sgt. Michael Torbett diligently worked for many months and coordinated with the 92nd Civil Engineer and Communications Squadrons to ensure we had a fully functional command post to support all our contingencies.
     During our beddown as well as our drawdown, Tech. Sgt. John Massad and his team from the 92nd CES were integral to the success of our Moses Lake operations. They juggled a wide range of work orders impacting each one of our facilities, as well as, the military ramp. They supervised over $53,000 of service contracts which included, in part, the refuse, custodial, fencing and latrine contracts. They oversaw all aspects of the installation of the command post - fencing, security cameras and utility hook-ups. On the flight line, Massad's team helped keep the ramp free of FOD and ice in addition to helping alleviate the poor ramp lighting.
     As you can see, it was a dynamic group of Airmen, civilians and contractors that made our transition a success. Along with the ones I have named, are countless others who worked in the background helping pave the way for our successes.
     Just about everyone's hands at Fairchild touched a part of the transition in one way or another. The successful move of operations to and from Moses Lake is a visible testament that what you do makes a difference.

Author's Note: This was written with a focus on the Moses Lake Operations and was not intended to ignore the incredible accomplishment of standing-up and running operations at Spokane International Airport. Credit goes to Lt. Col. Ron Keto of the 141st Air Refueling Wing.