The 773d LRS hosts commander immersion tour

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emily Farnsworth
  • 673d Air Base Wing

U.S. Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and 673d Air Base Wing commander, participated in a 773d Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) immersion tour at JBER, Alaska, Jan. 29, 2021.

Aguilar’s tour focused on getting to know Airmen assigned to the 773d LRS and what they provide to mission readiness on the joint installation.

The 773d LRS provides cargo movement, vehicle operations and passenger travel to both Airmen and Soldiers across the installation. The squadron also provides an aerial port team that provides airdrop and air-land support capabilities across the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).

One major aspect of the 773d LRS’ responsibilities lies in their support of U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK) mission functions.

“The 773 LRS provides support to USARAK on many fronts, ranging from transport for a jump or cargo preparation capabilities for small and large-it scale operations,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jamey Shuls, the director of operations for the 773d LRS. “These efforts are critical to ensure USARAK can rapidly execute mission requirements.”

Schuls stressed the impact the squadron has on mission readiness in the region.

“We provide joint logistics readiness support to enable and sustain arctic lethality and pacific readiness,” Schuls said.

Part of the squadron’s USARAK support comes through ground transportation. Ground transportation does large, efficient movements of people and cargo across both the installation and Alaska.

“It may look like we’re just operating a piece of equipment, but ground transportation is important because time is everything when it comes to executing the mission,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Adam Netteshiem, a ground transportation support operator assigned to the 773d LRS. “Without us moving the pieces to where they need to be, the bigger mission slows down and diminishes the military’s overall efficiency.”

During Aguilar’s visit, the Airmen assigned to ground transportation highlighted the importance of having a safe, efficient system of personnel and cargo movement to support mission readiness on the installation.

Other parts of the 773d LRS Aguilar visited were the inbound and outbound cargo sections. All of the military cargo that enters the installation passes through these sections where it is in-processed, sorted and then shipped to where it needs to go.

The Airmen noted their critical role in keeping the base running smoothly.

“Without our section, the base would not be able to operate as it could not receive any cargo to maintain aircraft and medical equipment,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Belcher, an inbound cargo technician assigned to the 773d LRS. “Our role here is crucial to the base’s operations.”

After touring the rest of the 773d LRS, Aguilar finished the day by visiting the Combat Mobility Flight (CMF) to learn about the aerial port team and their effect on mission readiness across the PACAF region.

At home station, the flight supports training missions conducted by the 3rd Wing and 176th Wing by packing parachutes, and rigging container delivery systems and large platforms for airdrop, allowing the wings to maintain mission readiness for emergencies throughout Alaska and the surrounding region.

Airmen working in the CMF noted how their behind-the-scenes role also plays into the bigger picture.

“If you come to the CMF, you’ll get to see us packing parachutes, but what you won’t see is how we provide aerial port capabilities to PACAF,” U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon McPherson, the CMF supervisor assigned to the 773d LRS. “We are constantly working to maintain our own air transportation skill sets to make sure we are ready to deploy.”

McPherson also highlighted the amount of work that goes into a single mission.

“It’s really fun to watch cargo get dropped out of the back of a plane, but I wish more people knew how many hours our team puts into a 15-second airdrop,” McPherson said. “Our Airmen spend about 20 hours of rigging for one mission and we support three to five per week. With that being said, our Airmen have a great sense of pride knowing they support important missions and are lucky to be part of the 3% of our career field that get to wear Rigger Wings.”

After taking the day to see the impact and capabilities of the squadron, Aguilar got a hands-on look at the direct impact the squadron has on the installation and its joint missions.