SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - --
Movement is key for the mission, and although COVID-19 sets a challenge for the Airmen of the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron, they are not letting that stop them.
Without the 375th LRS and its ability to move personnel and equipment, it would be very difficult for the 375th Air Mobility Wing to accomplish its mission.
“The mission would die,” said Senior Airman Quincy Johnson, 375th LRS traffic management journeyman. “We ship a lot of vital equipment, passports, medical equipment and anything you could think of.”
The newest and most widespread challenge facing the 375th LRS is COVID-19. The virus itself has forced different flights within the squadron to adapt. One of these flights is the aerial transportation function, which is responsible for moving Airmen.
“Although the base was shut down, our mission didn’t really slow down at all,” said Senior Airman Tyler Clay, 375th LRS air transportation technician.
The ATF has moved 58 personnel, two tons of medical equipment, seven vehicles, and much more needed equipment since the lockdown began. To protect themselves from COVID-19, the unit split into different teams on 14-day shifts.
“With everything that’s been going on, we’ve still been pushing out deployers, people to certify medical equipment for the Air Force, masks and respirators,” said Clay.
Equally mission critical, the Traffic Management Office has overcome obstacles presented by COVID-19. This is the office that handles movement of household goods for military members. It has a huge 75,000-square mile area of responsibility and a mission that never stops.
“You would think it would get a bit easier with the stop movement,” said Staff Sgt. Latonia Sakata 375th LRS personal property specialist. “We have twice as many shipments we have to work on because of the stop movement.”
TMO shipped 770 household goods, since the lockdown began.
The cargo section has also made necessary changes to carry out their mission.
“We’re pretty much like the Amazon of the Air Force,” said Johnson. “We’re the cargo section. We ship anything from medical supplies to anything you need down-range,”
To ensure mission success while following social distancing guidelines,the cargo section split up into two teams of five. Despite the challenges, Cargo has shipped 134 tons of equipment, 35 tons of it medical equipment.
Without the 375th LRS, it would be impossible for the 375th AMW to carry out its mission. There would be no personnel moving downrange, temporary duty travel or equipment going to the warfighter. COVID-19 may have made that mission more difficult, but the personnel there are not slowing down.
“I am very proud of the LRS’s ability to adapt and innovate during these uncertain times,” said Maj. Ryan Hengel 375th LRS commander. “The men and women of the LRS continue to lean into the challenges we are facing as a logistics enterprise and continue to make the mission happen every day.”