773d LRS offsets bus driver shortage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jack Layman
  • JBER Public Affairs
It takes a village to raise a child, and the morning coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. The lack of qualified bus drivers now leaves parents with one more thing to worry about in the morning, forcing parents to manage already scarce time and plan for longer commutes.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 773d Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation section are helping alleviate the bus driver shortages on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, starting Sept. 12. JBER has agreed to assist the Anchorage School District by providing four Airmen to service previously unstaffed bus routes. The routes supported by 773rd LRS run from JBER’s on-base housing to Aurora and Orion Elementary Schools.

The role of a ground transportation specialist is to move personnel and cargo quickly and safely. While on paper the Airmen’s mission set hasn’t changed, the drivers supporting ASD feel proud knowing that the students can have a fair chance at academic success by guaranteeing the student's attendance.

“I have a direct impact on the education of these students,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Danielle Perea, a ground transportation support operator 773rd Logistics Readiness Squadron. “This is a fairly easy day, working for these children. You could compare this task to transporting Soldiers to the Joint Mobility Complex to get ready for a jump.”

On a normal day, Airmen with the ground transportation section can be tasked with missions like driving a convoy up to Fairbanks in the winter, or moving heavy equipment across the airfield. Since the start of 2022, the 773rd LRS has logged 90,371 miles behind the wheel - a distance equivalent to 22.8 trips around the earth.

All four Airmen maintain a Class A commercial driver's license and are qualified by ASD after familiarization training.

“This partnership shows our shared interests in meeting the needs of our families and the students,” said Col. Dave Wilson, the JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander. “This is about more than readiness. This signifies our commitment to being good neighbors with the city of Anchorage and helping one another through this challenging time.”

The 773rd LRS will continue to provide support for up to 90 days after Sept. 12, based on the needs of the ASD.