2T1 AFSC Changes From Vehicle Operations to Ground Transportation
By Lt. Col. Kellie S. Courtland, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
/ Published May 05, 2017
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- On a daily basis, the men and women of the 509th and 131st Logistics Readiness Squadrons (LRS) calmly and quietly go about their business
supporting transportation requests to ensure the mission runs smoothly. They transfer parts from warehouses across the base to the
flightline making sure maintenance can keep aircraft in the air and deliver aircrews to their jets keeping the tip of the Air Force’s spear
trained. They transport passengers and cargo in support of deployments, redeployments, and mission partner needs. Every day they manage requests for ground transportation rain or shine, 24/7 year-round.
These Airmen are traditionally known as “vehicle operators,” but the Air Force has decided to recognize their blood, sweat, and tears by
reclassifying them to “ground transportation.”
“As the Air Force looks towards better articulating our capabilities, this change will set the stage for many of the things that are in motion,”
said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason Hohenstreiter, the ground transportation career field manager. “As we move forward it is
important that we remain true to our capability and responsibility to be the Air Force’s organic ground transportation experts.”
Most people do not realize these warriors do more than just drive buses. While deployed in theaters around the world, these ground transporters support not only the U.S. Air Force mission, but they work side-by-side with our sister services. Several members from Whiteman LRS have embedded with the U.S. Army running convoy operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They endured harsh climates and faced danger
on a daily basis where 16 to 18-hour days were not uncommon.
During these combat operations, ground transporters from Whiteman alone have earned seven Bronze Stars, five Purple Hearts, seven Meritorious Service Medals, 69 Army Commendation Medals, 17 Army Achievement Medals, and 10 Air Force Combat Action Medals.
“It’s easier to set a vision for our future in a world anticipating an increased adoption of remotely piloted and autonomous/intelligent vehicles that we offer much more than our ability to operate vehicles,” said Hohenstreiter.