HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The year is just halfway over and, according to Mark Dylla, the operations manager for the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, the squadron has had its busiest year since 9/11.
One of the highlights in 2019 have been the 75 LRS’s support to the active-duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing deployment that took place this spring and summer. The squadron’s home station support involved logistics planning, air terminal operations, cargo preparation and inspection, ground transportation, passenger processing and aircraft loading.
“The small air terminal is composed of a highly skilled and diverse group of personnel who all bring unique skills, experience, and ideas to support the mission,” said Trever Bush, air operations specialist.
“With hard work and training throughout the year, we as a team are always prepared for these types of movements.”
The squadron expedited the fighter wings’ Theater Support Package (TSP) deployment in April to Southwest Asia that included the deployment of hundreds of personnel and short tons of cargo. In addition, they supported the movement of F-35A Lightning IIs for the deployment, which later conducted their first-ever combat mission that same month.
“With the volume of aircraft, passengers, and cargo departing in such a short period of time, it was no doubt a challenge for the team; however, they executed the mission superbly and we are proud to be a part of the first deployment of combat-ready F-35s,” said Bush.
In May, the 75th LRS supported the deployment of 12 F-35As to Europe, a TSP containing another 300-plus personnel and more than 200 tons of cargo, to participate in exercises and conduct training with other Europe-based aircraft. The squadron also provided fuels and aerial port personnel to support the deployment.
At the same time, the squadron supported the mobilization of 17 F-35As and cargo to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, during Hill’s runway closure this summer.
This deployment consisted of more than 250 personnel, 30 truckloads of maintenance equipment and 20-plus government vehicles. The 75th LRS also resourced the 34th with R-11 refueling trucks and fuels specialists, a flatbed trailer and a mobile maintenance truck with LRS personnel.
According to the 388th FW, the Idaho deployment was the largest off-station F-35A operation to date.
In the midst of aiding the deployments of Hill’s fighter wings, the base’s small air terminal inspected and loaded nearly 500 short tons of bombs, missiles and bullets, supporting the Standard Air Munitions Packages, or STAMP, mission across the globe. They also instructed 15 equipment preparation courses to prepare several Hill AFB units for deployment execution.
In addition, the unit provided air terminal support, cargo movement, refueling, and ground transportation assets for more than 60 aircraft from Hill, Holloman AFB, New Mexico, Nellis AFB, Nevada, and Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, participating in the combat readiness exercises locally.
“We have an important role and I love my job,” said Senior Airman DeShain Calloway, 75th LRS air operations controller. “The commands really rely on us to get their cargo out and it’s good to be part of the mission.”
Deployments and exercises weren’t the only thing keeping the 75th LRS busy. The squadron’s vehicle management flight were hard at work readying the base’s snow fleet assets following Utah’s snowy winter.
Its personnel have maintained and rebuilt approximately 60 snow fleet vehicles, which includes snow brooms to clear snow from Hill’s streets and parking lots and aircraft deicers and snow removal equipment to clear the base’s airfield, which is expected to be completed well ahead of an October deadline.
Hill aircraft fly more than 2,500 hours during the winter months and a good summer rebuild program of snow removal vehicles are crucial to F-35 combat readiness and other flight operations, said Michael Hoekstra, base maintenance supervisor.
“I have an awesome team of 24 mechanics who performed a complete operational and visual check on all the vehicles, which includes both preventative maintenance and addressing any mechanical issues,” said Hoekstra.