KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing held its second three-day “Super” Unit Training Assembly of the year Sept. 9-11, with the main objective being to develop Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) for Agile Combat Employment (ACE).
During the first Super UTA in February, members from the 403rd Force Support Squadron, 403rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, and the 403rd Communications Flight, participated in training with the 41st Aerial Port Squadron learning pallet buildup, load planning, and other aerial transport functions.
The February training classes culminated into “real-world experience” Sept. 10, when those Airmen traded their office environments for flightline operations with the 815th Airlift Squadron.
In an operation dubbed “SMOKED MULLET,” the Airmen, with oversight and assistance from 41st APS members, experienced the cargo transport process from pallet buildup at Keesler Air Force Base to engine running offload at Shelby Auxiliary Field One Airport near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. While “deployed” they were also able to observe a combat offload.
The intent of the event: Train and prepare Agile Combat Support Airmen for worldwide deployment.
“Learning in a controlled environment can only benefit an Airman so much,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Overton, 403rd Mission Support Group deputy commander. “We came up with SMOKED MULLET to further develop and instill MCA concepts within the wing. As we approached the event, opportunities arose to socialize ACE and MCA with members outside of the MSG. Team members were able to build on past training events to maximize their effectiveness as Multi-Capable Airmen during SMOKED MULLET.”
The event also afforded 41st APS an opportunity to hone their skills outside of their sections and provided leadership experience outside of their core Air Force Specialty Codes, Overton added.
For Reserve Citizen Airmen like Senior Airman Sofia Salloum, a personnel journeyman for the 403rd FSS, the typical work environment during any given duty day consists of a desk, a computer, a phone, and the luxury of air conditioning.
“I work in the force management section,” she said. “We deal with managing overages, position moves, retraining, making sure first sergeants get their special duty pay, and other manning tasks like that.”
While Salloum’s role is vital to the overall mission of the 403rd Wing, aside from hearing the whir of takeoffs and landings from any of the unit’s 20 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, she does not often get to experience the aircraft operations she helps enable, so she jumped at the opportunity to broaden her skillsets.
“It was great to see all of the training come together,” said Salloum. “It’s beneficial having at least basic knowledge of these tasks just in case I am ever in a situation and need to contribute. It was also exciting because this was my first time flying on a military aircraft.”