Monday, May 9, 2011

Spangdahlem juggles TDYs, deployments

by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wilson
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/4/2011 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Every Airman has experienced the daunting task of juggling calendar events to keep temporary duties, deployments and leave dates from conflicting and can probably imagine the undertaking this must be for a frequently tasked fighter wing.

This is the charge of the 52nd Fighter Wing - from building partnership capacity missions in Bulgaria to vital training in Las Vegas and supporting overseas contingency operations, the operations tempo of Spangdahlem Air Base Airmen never slows down.

The wing dove into 2011 without hesitation when it sent the 480th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for more than a month of training in January and February to prepare for a scheduled Air Expeditionary Force deployment.

While the 480th FS was busy training abroad, other members of the wing were preparing to help them return to Spangdahlem AB and deploy in support of Operation New Dawn. Airmen were also working out the details of an upcoming BPC event for the 81st Fighter Squadron in Nancy, France.

However, during one of the 480th FS's only scheduled rests and just before the 81st FS was scheduled to depart for Nobel Ardent in France, duty called, and the two squadrons departed with short notice to support Operation Odyssey Dawn.

"Since OOD in Aviano Air Base, Italy, we have pushed out about 590 passengers and 1.3 million pounds of cargo," Senior Master Sgt. Lauren Owens, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics plans and programs superintendent, said. "Then, once we got (the unit deployed to support OOD, the focus shifted to) bringing them back because the 480th had a pending AEF rotation."

The base was able to support the troop movements, and the squadron and maintenance unit arrived to their AEF assignment on time.

"They were back for about two weeks, and we got all those guys to their AEF deployment," Sergeant Owens said.

The 480th FS, however, is not the only highly-tasked large organization at Spangdahlem AB.

"It never stops, and we are actually starting the planning process of Dacian Thunder, which is a BPC that the 81st is going to do in Romania," Sergeant Owens said. "After that, they are going to transition right to Jaded Thunder, which is their pre-deployment training. When they come back from that, we are going to continue to plan the 81st AEF deployment."

After the 81st FS is sent on its deployment, it will only be a short period of time before the 480th FS will return, he added.

Large units, like the fighter squadrons, are not the only people supporting deployments and temporary duties.

"We probably deploy more (small units) as a whole, but the aviation squadrons and the 606th Air Control Squadron move such a big entity and packages that you see a lot of people moving," Sergeant Owens said.

On top of taskings for major events like Red Flag, Green Flag, Operation Odyssey Dawn, Operation Unified Protector, Nobel Ardent, Dacian Thunder and Jaded Thunder, AEF taskings hit this base every day for individual people. That means a lot for the wing and its units to keep organized.

"If you would look at our calendar, it is amazing," Sergeant Owens said. "A box of 64 crayons wouldn't have enough colors for us to be able to track things."


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