Rapid global mobility sustains airpower 24/7, 365

Airman 1st Class Jordan Brinkle, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, right, and Senior Airman Andrew Colson, 931st Maintenance Group crew chief inspect a hinged door on the undercarriage of a KC-135 Stratotanker, Oct. 29, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Maintenance Airmen ensure McConnell's aircraft are always ready to respond thereby enabling rapid global mobility daily. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jenna K. Caldwell)

Airman 1st Class Jordan Brinkle, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, right, and Senior Airman Andrew Colson, 931st Maintenance Group crew chief inspect a hinged door on the undercarriage of a KC-135 Stratotanker, Oct. 29, 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. Maintenance Airmen ensure McConnell's aircraft are always ready to respond thereby enabling rapid global mobility daily. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jenna K. Caldwell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- At any moment, Airmen and aircraft can be tasked to deploy to support rapid global mobility operations both at home and abroad.

On April 19, the 22nd Air Refueling Wing received a tasking order to prepare for a short-notice deployment in support of Operation Noble Eagle.

The operation is an extensive air defense effort designed to prevent a recurrence of 9/11-style air attacks in America, according to an article published on North American Aerospace Defense Command’s website.

Within a few hours, Airmen, aircraft and cargo were airborne, beating the requested time by 12 hours.

“At McConnell, our Airmen work hard to make sure that every piece of the puzzle is always ready to execute on a moment's notice,” said Capt. Ralph Hale, 22nd Operations Support Squadron chief of wing scheduling.

Whether it is ensuring training is up-to-date or exercising different scenarios, McConnell Airmen and aircraft are always ready.

“The KC-135 Stratotankers allow our Air Force to rapidly project our strength anywhere on earth,” Hale said. “Our force extension capabilities allow the U.S. Air Force to immediately respond to global threats and McConnell Airmen ensure that we have that capability every day.”

Support Airmen stationed at McConnell had a massive role in making the short-notice deployment possible.

“To get these deployers to their deployed location is no easy feat,” said Lt. Col. Clifford Bayne, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “It takes unit deployment managers to ensure members are identified to fill the requirement and ready. It also takes logistics planners to establish the schedule of events to meet aircraft timelines and oversee the mobility machine.

Furthermore, it takes our traffic managers [and air transporters to ensure the processing of personnel and cargo]. Individual protective equipment to ensure deployers are issued their mobility gear and weapons, and vehicle operators get the deploying personnel to their processing location and aircraft.”

Just as the 22nd LRS Airmen did their part, maintenance Airmen were working to ready the aircraft for take-off.

“Our squadron motto is ‘On the Line, All the time.’ This is very true, we are out there day and night, year-round, doing what is necessary to make the mission happen,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Jones, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Black Aircraft Maintenance Unit production superintendent. “It doesn’t require a special skill set. [Instead] it takes skilled technicians from numerous Air Force specialty codes that know their jobs and are dedicated to accomplishing the mission.”

Without the dedication and hard work of these individuals, rapid mobility could not happen. This recent response is a just a small example of the role Kansas’ bases play across the globe.

“Team McConnell is the go-to [base] because our support team is the best there is,” Hale said. “It can’t not go. It cannot fail.”