Getting from Here..... to There..... (and Back)By: SMSgt Michael G. Lander (164th Operations Support Flight)
This article was originally published in "The River City Flyer" (a newspaper of the 164th Airlift Wing, Memphis, TN) in April 2000.
There is one office within Operations that is primarily responsible for much of the planning and preparation that comes with putting our unit's missions together.
Even though only a handful of people outside of Operations and Maintenance even know about them, it is our Current Operations section which deserves much of the credit for building our unit's missions.
"Most of the missions that we fly basically begin and end in Current Operations," SMSgt Billy Baxter explains. He, along with five others who work for him, shares the responsibility of getting missions off the ground, so to speak. These individuals are Master Sergeants Serge Trullet, Michael Horton, Norvel Adkins, Lynn Moak, and TSgt LLoyd Inlow.
Together, they make up a section that has often been referred to as "the heartbeat of Operations." "This label is very likely attributed to them because they are essentially the driving force behind everything else that happens within Operations itself," Lt Col Harry D. Montgomery, director of Operations, said.
"Although there are various ways that this unit picks up missions that it ends up flying, most are bid for at conferences or come directly to us from those who are requesting the airlift support," SMSgt Baxter explained.
After it is determined whether or not our unit will be able to do a mission, it is the job of Current Operations to do much of the preparatory work that is involved in putting a mission together. This often includes Maintenance and with those who are needing the airlift support, getting diplomatic clearances into foreign airspace, and briefing crews as to what they should expect to encounter on each leg of their mission.
"Missions don't just come together on their own," Lt Col Mac Holmes, 155th Airlift Squadron Commander, said. "It is our Current Operations section who has to pull everything together and make it all happen and the continued success of our missions could very likely be attributed, at least in part, to their hard work," Lt Col Holmes added.