by Senior Airman Natasha Stannard
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/20/2011 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Members of the 81st Fighter Squadron are preparing for their deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
"We're participating in Operation Enduring Freedom, and we're going to provide world-class close air support to coalition ground forces," said Lt. Col. Josh Ruddell, 81st FS director of operations.
The unit is not only deploying to support troops on the ground, but to work in a total force environment.
"We're augmenting to support multiple Guard and Reserve fighter units," Ruddell said. "This is the first time the Guard has taken lead on a deployment like this, and we're excited to support them in a fully integrated close air support mission."
The squadron, to include pilots, maintainers, crew chiefs, equipment inspectors and other Airmen will work with the Guard units to help ensure precise, reliable and full spectrum capabilities are provided to the flying mission.
Senior Airman Brandon Keiper, 81st FS aircrew flight equipment inspector, is just one of the Airman ensuring full-spectrum capability is provided as he inspects everything the pilots wear and use for flight.
"If their mask or helmet doesn't work correctly and they pull some Gs, they could G-lock, which is basically passing out in a jet," Keiper said.
From ensuring the pilot's equipment is ready for flight, to ensuring each bolt is screwed in properly, these Airmen are prepared to support the mission and each other as they look forward to learning and exchanging techniques with the Guard units.
"We're there to support the Guard, and as maintainers, we're anxious for the opportunity to learn from those who have been in the career field for a long time," said Master Sgt. Terry Bullock, 81 FS maintenance NCO-in-charge. "Even though the Guard does the same thing we do, they may do it differently. This will be a good opportunity for us to share better ways of supporting the mission."
Whether this is a Saber's first deployment, like Keiper, or they've been on multiple, like Ruddel and Bullock, all are supporting the mission.
In this particular mission with the Guard, they're also strengthening their potential to improve the Air Force's air, space and cyber capabilities.
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Airmen deploying with the 81st Fighter Squadron collect personal protective equipmen from the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron t at a personnel deployment function line here. The PDF line consists of base agencies that ensure deploying members have all necessary paperwork and checklists completed before leaving. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Natasha E. Stannard)
Sorry for overlooking this very important news article, already published three days ago. After re-checking some other related info, I will post a deployment update.