That's Logistics

  • Published
  • By Maj Nicole Fuller, Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
  • 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron

I'm from a small Midwest town and when I go home to visit, I always get asked what I do for a living. When I mention I'm in the Air Force inevitably the next question is, "Do you fly planes?" "Nope," I say. "I don't fly planes. I'm in Logistics." For years, I have struggled to describe logistics to my civilian friends and family. The conversation usually ends with them saying something like, "I don't really understand what that means but I'm sure it's important." The recent United Parcel Service campaign, with its catchy "That's Amore (That's Logistics)" jingle, has helped somewhat in the description of logistics, but it still doesn't exactly capture what a Logistics Readiness Squadron does, nor does it speak to the heart and soul of the squadron-- its people.

The logistics readiness mission at Andersen Air Force Base is more than a jingle, we are Airmen, Department of the Navy and Air Force civilians and contract partners working together to ensure the deployment, employment, sustainment and redeployment of Pacific Airpower. To put it simply, nothing arrives, moves, is repaired, deploys or flies at Andersen AFB without the men and women of the 36th LRS.

The most noticeable mission of the 36th LRS is Petroleum Oil and Lubricants (POL). More precisely, the POL mission is the storage, distribution, accounting, inventory and security of the largest fuel storage and distribution facility in the Air Force. The 89 Airmen and 10 AFH contractors that make up the Fuels Flight not only pump fuel to thousands of aircraft and helicopters annually but, ensure the integrity of 22 storage tanks containing millions of gallons of jet fuel. Additionally, the Airmen of POL also run one of two cryogenics production plants left in the Air Force. The plant is capable of producing over 400 gallons of Liquid Nitrogen or Oxygen (LOX) daily. Produced LOX is 99.5 percent pure and is essential to aviator breathing oxygen and the pilots ability to carry out missions from high altitudes. Additionally, POL Airmen keep 47 fuel service vehicles running in peak condition to ensure every mission--every aircraft--is serviced on time. The Fuels Flight does not do this alone. They rely heavily on our contract partners in DZSP-21 to perform in-depth technical maintenance to keep the fleet running.

DZSP-21 and their Performance Assessment Representatives (P-Flight) form a cohesive team to carry out all supply, vehicle operations, vehicle maintenance and traffic management functions for Andersen AFB. The DZSP-21 team drives over 20,000 miles annually and performs over 10,000 maintenance actions on 1,100 AF and Navy owned vehicles. This team of professionals meets every aircraft and ensures crews and passengers are moved expeditiously to their lodging locations or other base support functions. The vehicle maintenance team is on call 24-hours a day to repair critical vehicle assets that keep the flightline running or the base operating support functions clicking on all cylinders. The supply section and traffic management sections are also on call 24/7 to ensure critical aircraft parts and supplies get to the hands of the maintainers to keep the mission flying. The DZSP-21 team also includes a cargo and passenger deployment and reception function which endeavors to safely and securely deploy Andersen's finest to numerous combatant commands throughout the world. Overseeing our DZSP-21 partners are some of the most experienced and professional quality assesments the AF have ever seen. Together, they represent over 125 years of AF and Navy experience and ensure our contract performance is consistently the best in the PACAF.

The most difficult flight in the 36 LRS to describe is the Readiness Flight. Nothing in the UPS jingle comes close to describing what this team of professionals lead on a daily basis. The eight Airmen and one civilian in this flight work in partnership with the 36 FSS to receipt for higher headquarters taskings and ensure Airmen filling those taskings are trained, equipped and ready to meet combatant commander requirements. They touch every unit on base to ensure air expeditionary force readiness is reported accurately and units are prepared to go to war. Readiness Flight is also responsible for the reception of cargo and passengers to Andersen AFB. They, and the rest of the Reception Working Group (RWG), build a concept of support for every unit that deploys to Andersen and ensure every person is given a world-class reception. The RWG ensures aircraft bed down, personnel lodging, workspace, transportation and communications support for our deployed in units. The Readiness Flight works with numerous functional areas on base to ensure our deployed Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines are effectively integrated and able to complete their missions. They also work side by side with our Base Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) contractor VSE Corporation to store, maintain, manage and deploy BEAR assets worldwide. VSE Corporation does an outstanding job of maintaining the BEAR is a war ready configuration for immediate deployment to any PACAF contingency or humanitarian situation. This team of professionals is also responsible for base support planning of assigned combatant commander plans. They work diligently with all units and agencies on base to communicate our capabilities back to higher headquarters. Additionally, Readiness Flight negotiates and manages host tenant support agreements with over 28 agencies and units residing on Andersen AFB. Readiness Flights mission is not only hard to describe to civilians but it is so diverse and far reaching that most units work with them on a daily basis and don't even know they are part of the 36 LRS.

So the next time I'm describing Logistics to a relative or friend and they ask me if it's like the UPS commercial, I'll say "Yes, but the customer really does have to have it overnight and sometimes lives or missions depend on it." Nope, I don't fly aircraft for a living but, aircraft don't fly without my team. Aim High...Fly, Fight, Win!