445th units ensure smooth return of deployers

  • Published
  • By Capt. Rachel Ingram
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Close coordination between several 445th Airlift Wing squadrons led to the successful reception of about 140 Airmen returning from deployment Jan. 4, 2024.

Four C-17 Globemaster III aircraft brought the Air­men home safely, along with 35 pieces of cargo total­ing 88,340 pounds.

Upon arrival, the 445th Logistics Readiness Squad­ron briefed the Airmen about in-processing require­ments while the 87th Aerial Port Squadron offloaded the rolling stock and pallets of cargo.

“It was a team effort,” said Master Sgt. Jordan West, 445th Mission Support Group unit deployment manager. “We completed the offload of all four aircraft in just over two hours.”

On the administrative side of things, the individual deployment readiness cell, or IDRC, led by Master Sgt. Felicia Johnson of the 445th Force Support Squadron, organized the four-stop in-processing schedule to en­sure nothing falls through the cracks.

“The IDRC is like the wheels of a clock,” explained Maj. Phillip Sobers, 445th LRS commander. “All we see is what time it is, but she [Johnson] is behind the scenes making it all happen.”

Johnson personally greeted each aircraft on the flightline, providing an initial mass briefing and then sending the Airmen out to meet their waiting families.

“I’m their last stop before they go into leave status,” Johnson said.

The deployers must report back to duty the fol­lowing morning to complete an array of in-processing tasks, including medical, finance, supply and military personnel, she explained.

“We completely in-processed all of the returning de­ployers within 16 hours of arrival,” she added.

Staff Sgt. Weston Emanuelson, 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, was on one of those four aircraft, completing his fourth military deploy­ment, but first with the Air Force.

“It’s not anything new for me,” he said, noting he’d served on submarines in the U.S. Navy prior to joining the 445th AW.

“The process this time was fairly smooth and sim­ple,” Emanuelson said. “When there was one hiccup at the medical in-processing station, they quickly recali­brated to move things along more quickly.”

From sorting out baggage to streamlining pick up to consolidating briefings whenever possible, each of the supporting units shared a common goal of recon­necting the homebound Airmen with their families as safely and efficiently as possible.