'Look for red flags and try to eliminate all problems'
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE - Airmen from the "mighty" 734th Air Mobility Squadron brought their "A-game" in support of Exercise Valiant Shield 2012 here, Sept. 11 to 17.
This year, 734th AMS received and downloaded 416 tons of cargo, 796 passengers and received 48 inbound aircraft.
"We all feel a great deal of pride from participating and contributing to the success of Valiant Shield," said Master Sgt. Sean Pheabus, 734th Air Mobility Squadron lead production superintendent. "I would say that the entire 734th performed on an outstanding level, as they always do, especially during Exercise Valiant Shield 2012. The type of support that was required of us was no surprise as it is normal operations for us to deal with different agencies from all over the Department of Defense, as well as foreign countries."
Valiant Shield 2012 is a U.S. exercise that focuses on integration of joint training among U.S. forces in relation to current operational plans. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units in the air, on land, at sea and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.
Planning conferences began months before operations commenced and continued right up to execution. With Andersen AFB as the primary operating location for the exercise, the 734th AMS worked with support and operation units to handles operations, logistics and redeployments for the incoming units.
The 734th AMS "Eagles" coordinated with the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 36th Operations Support Squadron on reception, parking, redeployment, aircraft and equipment support during the exercise.
"I get together with the IDRC and representatives from the incoming unit before the exercise kicks off," said Staff Sgt. Logan Flaugher, 734th AMS capability forecaster. "We look for red flags and we try to eliminate all problems before the units start to move into Andersen. We make sure everything is set up for the reception."
During exercises, the 734th AMS air terminal operations center coordinates with the 36th LRS who then disseminates information and requirements to other supporting units.
"It's vital that we have everybody on the same page," said Sergeant Flaugher. "If the wrong information is disseminated, it could cause a lot of waste efforts and significant delay."
The 734th AMS maintenance flight manages all en route maintenance production activities. The unit directs all C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III and KC-10 Extender maintenance actions, along with all Air Mobility Command commercial-contract airlift support.
The maintenance flight's lead production team constantly stays engaged with 36th OSS airfield management to maximize aircraft parking efficiency and avoid ramp congestion.
The team is also responsible for proper use of material handling equipment, conducting aircraft tows and coordinating fueling operations to successfully handle the influx of strategic airlift in support during the exercise.
While supporting Valiant Shield, the 734th AMS multitasked diligently. Despite the demands of the exercise, the unit successfully executed aircraft unit swap-outs, received a real-world typhoon evacuation, received aircraft supporting the Theater Security Package and sustained their normal Air Mobility Command mission workload.
"One thing I look at is how many missions we have going on at one time," said Sergeant Flaugher. "When I see that too many missions are going on at the same time, I work with the command post and command and control in order to get the missions spread out."
In dealing with multiple operations, the 734th AMS ensures that "safely, by the book, then on-time" is paramount during their 24/7 operations.
"The 734th AMS motto is 'safely, by the book, then on time,' meaning that everything we do begins with safety," said Sergeant Pheabus. "Our Airmen will stop operations if they feel safety is compromised. We all have checklists, technical orders and Air Force Instructions to follow."
"After we ensure the mission is being done safely and using the proper guidance, we can focus on getting it done on schedule," he continued. "It means that there is no mission more important than a team member's safety. I would take a delayed departure if it meant slowing down to ensure it was done safely and by the book."
The 734th AMS is comprised of hard working airmen that work day in and day out. The amount of work they accomplish in support of Andersen and the units that transits through this base can be attributed to the unit' s cohesion and work ethic.
"Our squadron is full of hard working, professionals who take pride in their work," said Sergeant Pheabus. "We were successful because of our ability to coordinate with a wide range of agencies to ensure everything went smoothly. We are used to dealing with many different missions ranging from exercises to disaster relief."
"The 734 AMS is here doing this mission 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," he said. "We know how to get things done."