ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD, England --
Deployed Airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, have worked around the clock in recent weeks to ensure the success of the Bomber Task Force mission at Royal Air Force, Fairford, England.
The mission familiarizes aircrew members with the U.S. European command area of operations, while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to allies and partners.
While deployed, support agencies from their home station in Missouri help maintain the teams' ability to focus and complete demanding B-2 Spirit maintenance and flying operations.
Airmen live together in a dormitory-style building in a secured compound. Support facilities within the small base include the dining hall and chapel, a shoppette and a recreation center. Together, these facilities create a village-like temporary home for the U.S. Airmen.
Feeding the fight
The first step in ensuring Airmen are focused is making sure they are well fed, said Tech. Sgt. Flint Almiron, 509th Force Support Squadron. This is a need addressed by the 509th FSS quality assurance team. While leaving the cooking to local providers, the team checks on food safety and standard.
“We needed to be operational day one,” Almiron said. “The troops need food. Without food there is no mission success – and we are here to make sure that the product and food they serve is in accordance with Air Force Instructions.”
Almiron’s team ensures the quantity of food is sufficient, the quality of food is safe and healthy for consumption and the facility is clean and well maintained.
Additionally, a specially-trained flight doctor is on staff to ensure aircrews are fit for flight.
Manning the Mission
The 509th FSS team also assists Airmen’s administrative needs with the Personnel Contingency Operation (PERSCO) team.
“We are a mini Military Personnel Flight,” said Tech. Sgt. Laura Burton, one of two Airmen of the PERSCO team. “We account for everybody from when they arrive to when they leave.”
The PERSCO team addresses and prevents personnel issues, allowing Airmen to focus on mission success instead of administrative issues at home.
“If they have any personnel concerns of any kind, whether it’s reenlistments, extensions, promotions, anything affecting their career, they come to us and we reach back to home station to resolve those concerns,” Burton said.
Once Airmen have their bellies full of food and their personnel needs met, the chaplain supports the teams’ spiritual, emotional and even social wellness during the deployment.
“First I provide for and accommodate the free exercise of religion for Airmen and their families,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Graham Baily, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing. “While we are here, if there is a religious need that people have, they can come to me and I will find a way to accommodate that need.”
Additionally, Baily assists with pastoral care, which involves a variety of services he provides to Airmen.
“I coordinate trips for Airmen to go and have a spiritual outing, offer gatherings at the chapel to discuss core values, or I am available to Airmen to talk about any issues they may have,” Baily said.
Finally, the chapel also serves as a place where relationships with fellow Airmen can flourish.
“We also provide a place for people to come and relax and develop friendships that are meaningful,” Baily said. “Here, people can gather from all types of career field and have an opportunity to come together.”
After all it takes a village – and no matter their mission, every Airman allows B-2 crews to take off – on time, every time