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October Chief's Perspective

U.S. Air Force Chief Master. Sgt. Anthony Terry, 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's Component Repair Flight superintendent at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, Sept. 29, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Jim St.Clair, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master. Sgt. Anthony Terry, 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's Component Repair Flight superintendent at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, Sept. 29, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Jim St.Clair, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

For this month’s perspective, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our Drill Status Guard (DSG) members for the outstanding professionalism and dedication to mission accomplishment they displayed throughout our most recent AEF deployment. It’s easy sometimes to take their service for granted and lose sight of the unique challenges that come with managing a civilian career and completing all pre-deployment requirements in time for an on-time departure.

 A typical deployment spin up consists of individual pre-departure medical screening, weapons and training qualifications specific to the Area of Responsibly (AOR). When accomplished on drill weekends, they coincide with maintaining a robust flying schedule to not only get our pilots trained and working aircraft maintenance related issues to maintain fleet health as well. Those not assigned to a maintenance unit have unique Air Force Specialty Code specific requirements that are as equally difficult to accomplish when coupled with pre-deployment spin-up.  New COVID-19 restrictions added an extra layer of difficulty to our deployment preparations.

Two weeks prior to departure, deployers were required to complete Restriction of Movement (ROM) guidelines that restricted us to our primary residence when not at work and limited our contact to immediate family members only. Additionally, those that lived greater than two hours driving distance from McEntire Joint National Guard Base had to ROM in a hotel room within the local area without their immediate families. Through all of this, our dedicated men and women handled it all in stride and continued to perform their duties at the highest level. But, what was the end result of this unprecedented pre-deployment thrash?

All deploying members left with medical and AOR specific training requirements complete. All jets, equipment and people arrived on-time, ready for utilization ahead of scheduled Air Tasking Order mission requirements. Nearly 70 percent of our team was comprised of DSGs and we rocked it. Deployed base leadership still speaks admirably of your performance and has asked for best practices to pass on to future units. DSGs, we could not have done this without you. Your knowledge, dedication and professionalism made you indistinguishable from AGRs, Technicians and Active Duty members that perform these tasks on a daily basis and that is truly the measure of an outstanding blended force team. I thank each of you for being a part of our unit, to have been able to work alongside each of you and am proud to have been a part of this highly successful deployment.