First timer moves 13 FS out for exercise
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- In the early afternoon of Jan. 18, 2013, 68 tons of cargo, over 140 maintainers and approximately 20 of the 13th Fighter Squadron's finest pilots left for Guam to participate in an Aviation Training Relocation exercise. According to Lt. Col. John McDaniel, 13 FS commander, one of the key Airmen who made this successful departure possible was Capt. Jason Holmes, 13 FS assistant chief of standardization and evaluation.
Although this was Holmes' first time planning out an ATR exercise, McDaniel said there was never a doubt in his mind that the captain would do the job exceptionally.
"I have a lot of good captains, so very little oversight is needed," said McDaniel. "I task them with a job and they only come back to me if there is a problem, which isn't often."
The ATR exercise is administered to give pilots and crew members the opportunity to increase operational readiness and interoperability between American and Japanese forces. Also, the program was made to reduce the impact of training on local communities surrounding U.S. and Japanese bases in Japan.
As the assistant project officer of the exercise, Holmes' main priorities were keeping to the schedule and maintaining good communication lines with other agencies and bases. Coordinating with the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron installation deployment officer and the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons section chief were also essential to making sure everything ran smoothly.
Holmes took on the job as an assistant planner expecting it to run in a seemingly effortless manner. Not too long after he was assigned the job did he realize that was not the case.
"Planning an event like this is a lot harder than it looks. The scheduling portion of my job was, in one word, chaotic," said Holmes. "What we were doing and when we were going to do it was constantly evolving, making planning out the exercise a particularly tricky job to accomplish."
To combat this complication, Holmes used experiences from past and current job positions, such as planning a squadron change of command ceremony. He used his organizational skills as flight leader and his connections with the base weapons section to make things easier.
"For this project, my past experiences were what set me up for success," said Holmes. "I didn't freak out when I was told I would be tasked with this project. I kind of already knew what to do, what processes to follow. Most importantly, I knew who to go to if I didn't know something."
According to Holmes, his lack of hesitation to ask for help and ability to find answers to difficult questions were why he was chosen for the task.
"I believe that my experiences and organizational skills are why I was tasked to do this job," said Holmes.
"A lot of responsibility falls on the assistant project planner," said McDaniel.
According to the 13 FS commander, if Holmes was negligent in his duties, the 35th Fighter Wing wouldn't be able to participate in the exercise at all. So the fact that he held himself together and fought against the hectic scheduling proved he was the perfect man for the job.
"He really outdid himself," said McDaniel. "He has accomplished all of my expectations and, because of his diligence and dedication, our jets are ready to go with all of the weapons, tanker support and aircrew members we anticipated."