NORAD Mission Brings Support Personnel New Challenges and Experiences

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Troy Anderson
  • 125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the Florida Air National Guard 125th Fighter Wing deployed to participate in Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 15 from Oct. 19-27, 2014 at 5 Wing Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. During a deployment, many individuals get to experience not only learning how to operate in a new environment, but how to work with new people, additional regulations and may even have to take on responsibilities they are not usually accustomed to.This was the case for Staff Sgt. Timothy Dunn who works in Personnel, but was tasked as PERSCO during the deployment.

"At home station we do personnel actions," said Dunn. "So if you need to re-enlist or if you have questions about awards and decorations, or life insurance... we're there in a personnel support function. In the deployed location our primary duties with PERSCO is accountability for all our people. Knowing where they are, accounting for them, and reporting that information both to the commanders at the location and also so that information can be disseminated upwards to senior leadership for tracking on what the human requirement is for these mission."

However, Dunn's responsibilities were quickly expanded after arrival to 5 Wing Goose Bay.

"I was tasked by the Lt. Col. (Breck Woodard) in charge of the Air Force here, as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Redeployment Process," Dunn said. "I'm working with all the units and the Canadians to be tracking on what we need to do in order for us to all leave in the timelines that we need to." 

The NCOIC of the Redeployment Processes' responsibilities included making sure that all personnel, both American and Canadian had a way to return to their units, and making sure that all equipment and resources were returned to their proper locations.

Dunn worked with a group comprised of members from multiple units, some which are not normally in the Mission Support or Personnel career field.

"It's neat to see that people from even other career fields getting plugged in and getting the mission accomplished, efficiently and effectively, because we are all wearing the same uniform," Dunn said.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Marshall from the 125th Logistics Readiness Squadron had her own new experiences with supporting the 125th mission. As a Stock Control member, she was in charge of ordering parts for the six deployed aircraft, and ensuring the parts taken with them were of proper quantity and set up correctly for the deployment.

"Nobody really knows exactly what you'll need when you get to your location," Marshall said.

During the exercise Marshall was tasked with ordering several mission-critical parts needed to fix one of the 125th's F-15 Eagles.

"It's been a bit of a challenge getting things here as we needed them, but there are workarounds and we make it work," Marshall said.

Because of the urgency needed for receiving the parts, it required her contacting several other military locations around the United States to try and coordinate a hasty delivery to the remote location.

"Pretty much everyone in the Air Force is a team," Marshall said. "Everybody's an asset and everybody needs each other to complete the mission at the end of the day."

Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 15 was a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) exercise used to practice deploying a bi-national force to a forward operating location and conducting aerial missions as to simulate a variety of situations.

"I think it's cool to be able to go places and hook up with people that I've never met before in a professional manner to accomplish a mission and have a good time while doing it," Dunn said.