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Working together, winning the Global War on Terror

by Major Teri Consoldane
28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron
Courtesy photo

MacDill celebrates its grand opening in 1941.

DIEGO GARCIA -- Hello from Diego Garcia! The men and women from the 6th Air Mobility Wing have joined forces with our counterparts, mostly from Robins AFB and Fairchild AFB, to form the 28th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.

We are operating from a beautiful island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, along with the members of the 40th Air Expeditionary Group, and we are flying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Even on a "down day," operations never stop at this deployed location. The 28 EARS is executing the mission with skill, flexibility and a cooperative dedication to the mission of our receivers. Our team is amazing. Everyday they find a way to get our aircraft serviced, repaired and launched to provide fuel wherever and whenever they need us.

We have built and maintained a reputation for excellence here. When our receivers need us, they know we will be there. We successfully accomplish our mission every day - we do it as a phenomenal blended team.

This deployed squadron is different from our units at home. The 28 EARS is made up of troops from several different specialties. We have maintenance, supply, life support, intelligence, information management, crew communications, flight medicine and aircrew members. It is truly a team effort. We all have different jobs, but we all share the same goal. We aren't bound by our job titles here, and that is the key to our success in this war.

Adorning the walls of the dining facility and the operations building are simple reminders of who we serve. Posters made by school children thank us for protecting them and wish us luck in our endeavors. Colorful banners tell us that we serve the greatest country in the world and that our fellow citizens support us. They remind us of the things which matter most in life. They remind us why we must win this war.

We work very hard to accomplish our mission successfully. On the other hand, I can report that we play hard, as well. The activities available to us on Diego seem to be never-ending. There are beautiful beaches, amazing snorkeling and all kinds of boat excursions. Fishing is a popular past time, as are 5K fun runs where the free t-shirts for all participants are the real motivation.

As is usually the case, the best part of this deployment has been working with the people of the 28 EARS. There are no strangers in our squadron, even though we come from different bases and possess different specialties.

I have seen an intelligence officer coordinate changes with the Combined Air and Space Operations Center and pass information from our crews when they radio home.

Our maintainers (also known as the Miracle Workers) somehow manage to save our flying schedule on a daily basis.

Our flight records troop knows a lot about proper aircraft configuration now. Life support personnel not only help us get out to the aircraft, but help us load and unload our equipment.

Everyone on this team works together toward the same goal - getting airplanes in the air to support combat operations in Afghanistan.

The key to our success during this deployment is simple. We are taking care of each other and staying focused on our goals. We are working hard, yet taking time to enjoy each other's company and our incredible location.

With a clear focus and determined warriors, we are working together - and winning the war.



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