FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
An adage older than the Air Force itself: take care of your people and they will take care of you.
Every day there is an air mission and along with it are U.S. Air Force Airmen to complete it; Airmen who are trained, capable, ready and determined to ensure mission success. As the Airmen complete the mission, their leaders in turn provide guidance and oversight to ensure everyone is well taken care of.
“This is my team, they’re already well established and have an excellent reputation in the command,” said Maj. Tia Ahlf, 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “My goal is to keep them operating at the same level of excellence while ensuring they have what they need to get the mission done the best way possible; they are the experts, they’ve proven it. Anything I can do to help them continue, I’ll do, with integrity.”
Ahlf is a Spokane native and took command of the 92nd LRS on June 12, 2020 as one of the newest commanders at Fairchild Air Force Base. As an LRS commander, Ahlf is the director of distribution management, base readiness requirements, current and projected materiel requirements, contingency, fuel management, and vehicle management operations.
“Our squadron basically prepares and ensures every Airman and piece of equipment is ready to go and that everything and everyone gets where they need to go, exactly when they need to get there,” said Ahlf.
The whole process of moving cargo around the world is captured through the cargo deployment function. The CDF begins when a request for cargo is submitted. Once the base meets the requester’s needs, it is then processed. The cargo is then palletized and transported to its destination.
The process involves more than just paperwork; it involves preparing baggage pallets, marshaling and driving forklifts, weighing and measuring cargo and checking hazardous material.
Although Ahlf does not drive the forklift herself, she has been charged with leading, or taking care of, the team who gets the mission done.
“It’s important for me to be grounded and understand the human right in front of me and how I can best serve them,” she said. “That’s going to be me for the next few years, being intentional; knowing each individual Airman I meet and how I can serve them so they can take care of the mission.”
Ahlf comes to Fairchild from Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, where she was a branch chief for the AMC chief of staff and an executive officer for the AMC commander for six months.
“Though my time was brief, I learned so much being [AMC commander] Gen. [Maryanne] Miller’s exec,” said Ahlf.
Ahlf’s connection to the Air Force started with her grandmother, whose farmland bordered the outskirts Fairchild.
“I grew up on a farm four miles from Fairchild, we had cows, sheep, pigs, horses, chickens and even buffalo once,” said Ahlf. “I got acclimated to the sound of jets taking off, but never really considered joining until I was in high-school.
“I was looking at a chart in a magazine in my guidance counselor’s office when it hit me,” she said. Ahlf wanted to be a social worker, but she didn’t feel like she would be able to provide the best assistance to service members who needed help without “walking a mile” in their shoes.
“And coming back now in this time of my life has been really heartwarming,” she said. “I hope and plan to be involved in the community that helped mold me into the leader I am today.”