Meeting the Airmen, seeing the mission: 35 LRS
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Col. Timothy Sundvall, 35th Fighter Wing commander, and interim 35 FW Command Chief Master Sgt. Leonardo Castro, met with Airmen from the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron here, June 22.
The visit provided Sundvall and Castro the opportunity to interact with Misawa Airmen and see what they do on a daily basis to support the 35 FW mission of providing world-wide deployable forces and protecting U.S. interests in the Pacific.
"We wanted to inform Colonel Sundvall about the logistical side of the cargo deployment function," said Tech. Sgt. Derek Kahaunaele, 35 LRS air transportation office NCO in charge. "It's a great opportunity to show them what's going on at the ground level."
Kahaunaele, the recent recipient of the Gail Halvorsen Air Transportation Individual of the Year award for the Pacific Air Force's region, was Sundvall and Castro's guide to the world of palletizing. He briefed the colonel and chief on how to properly compose a pallet for deployment before guiding them through the process of building one themselves.
Donning their steel-toed boots and a set of gloves, Sundvall and Castro joined their Airmen and began the labor-intensive process.
Throughout the visit, Sundvall and Castro learned the method of weighing and securing chains to an object for security, and how different the Air Mobility Command and commercial airlines are when it comes to cargo management.
Having successfully built a pallet for a deployment, Sundvall and Castro then spoke with the Airmen about internal concerns, potential solutions for them and what it was like for other squadrons to integrate with them during exercises.
"I think it was great that leadership came down to visit and speak with the Airmen," said Kahaunaele. "It was a big deal for me and our Airmen for him to come out. It played a big part in morale."
When all was said and done, the two were officially inaugurated as 35 LRS Airmen.
As their time touring the 35 LRS came to a close, Sundvall and Castro had accomplished their own mission: getting to know their Airmen on a personal level, identifying possible discrepancies in a unit and seeing the 35 FW's mission completed at the ground level.
"Every time Chief and I go out to meet with Airmen, we learn new things and figure out new ways to solve problems," said Sundvall. "It provides us an opportunity to put fresh eyes on a subject and look at ways to improve it."