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Guard, active-duty aircrew provide airlift to reserves
Alaska Air National Guard members from the 249th Airlift Squadron and active duty members from the 517th AS take part in a flight brief at the 517th AS, Aug. 3, 2012, prior to a flight to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The combined Alaska ANG and JBER active-duty aircrew provided a team of JBER reservists airlift to Hill so they could participate in the upcoming Combat Hammer exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
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Guard, active-duty aircrew provide airlift to reserves

Posted 8/3/2012   Updated 8/6/2012 Email story   Print story


by Air Force 1st Lt. Matthew Chism
JBER Public Affairs

8/3/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A combined Alaska Air National Guard and JBER active-duty aircrew provided a team of JBER reservists airlift support to Hill Air Force Base, Utah on Friday.

Members from the 249th and 517th Airlift squadrons transported equipment and personnel for the 477th Fighter Group. The Reserve team is headed to Hill AFB to participate in the upcoming Combat Hammer exercise.

"The Mission Readiness Airlift program provides a capacity that doesn't exist outside the Guard," said Lt. Col. Anthony Stratton, the director of operations for the 249th AS. That capacity allows them to do 18 to 24 airlift missions like this per year, he said.

"It's really convenient here because we have transport aircraft that can support us and we don't have to look elsewhere to find ways to move our people and gear," said Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso, a reservist with the 477th FG. "We can gather our maintenance package in the same place we catch our flight."

The next step in the mission for the Total Force Excellence Crew, which refers to the combination of Active and Guard flight crews, is in Alabama.

The TFE crew will pick up members from the Alabama Air National Guard's 187th Fighter Wing. Those Guardsmen will then be flown to Romania to participate in Dacian Thunder.

Dacian Thunder is a month long joint and coalition exercise designed to strengthen techniques, tactics, procedures and capabilities.

The Guard and active-duty Airmen here at JBER continue to see their own relationships strengthened by working together.

"Being able to fly alongside the Guard members provides a great opportunity to learn the way that they do business," said Capt. Brian Yeargan, a C-17 pilot with the 517th AS, and native of Eagle River, Alaska.

"Integration has worked flawlessly here at JBER," said Master Sgt. Lloyd Llaneza, the non-commisioned officer in charge of current operations for the 249th Airlift Squadron.

"With the ability to work and train with each other we are all capable of going into any area here in Alaska, and perform the mission," said Llaneza, who hails from Hawaii.

"Being able to intermix (guard and active-duty) training allows for faster and better results," said Lt. Col. Scott Fell, commander of the 249th AS.

"We bring folks together for training, because this is very much a team sport," Fell said.

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