Sometimes what doesn’t kill you, doesn’t make you stronger — it simply makes you better. The Logistics Readiness Squadron is a diverse organization that renders a richness to the art of logistics, elemental to operational survival in the face of calamity.
That is exactly what energized the 325 “LRyeS” following Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The response to the disaster is also a good reminder for why we must remain adaptable in our daily Air Force operations. Logistics exceeds support — and in the most literal sense — propels all progress.
Photo credit: Lt. Andrew Brissette
In our particular situation, we have had the chance to test run several rich and artful ideas to include interdisciplinary task sharing. TMO, Air Transportation, Ground Transportation, and Supply came together to expedite the procedural milestones required for all sustainment and redistribution, filling gaps outside of their respective career fields and experience.
With the waxing and waning of manpower, this remains core to our continued progress. Moreover, we saw major success in transferring operational control of an entire supply team at two locations — not simply decentralized support — but a complete supply function in support of Task Force RAPTOR.
This team was superbly lead by Col Argie Moore, who recovered Tyndall’s remaining F-22s in just three short weeks. That transfer of control can be a tough sell at the squadron and group levels but was precisely what was needed to ensure optimal support to the generation of remaining F-22s for their safe departure.
The most profound test of adaptability thus far is the unavoidable shift in our perspective, from having a starter kit and menu of expansion packs to having nothing. Much like a child building a fort, we started with an idea, looked around for what was left to use, and then asked loggies above and around us for more chairs and blankets.
Building packages and capabilities as loggies is not a foreign concept, but building capability and capacity from nowhere with decreasing resources brought out the best in our people. It is something we should exercise to ensure we win tomorrow’s wars in a contested and constrained environment.
Photo credit: Maj. Sarah Bowles
Most importantly it is not us in leadership that got this done — it is the civilians, NCOs and SNCOs who train our people daily and all of our Airmen who have ideas waiting to be heard. It’s the local community who was emerging from the wreckage itself yet arrived at the gate with generosity and always warmly assisted our families.
We have to be shrewd and nimble logisticians. As leaders, we have to trust and enable our people, especially in scarcity. We must empower them to not only build their expertise but to find applicability across the logistics spectrum, especially when things are not optimal. In the end, we are craftsmen in the art of making it happen.
About the author
Major Sarah E. Bowles is the Commander, 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.