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Strength Through Partnership: 171st Air Refueling Wing Partners with 159th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jodi Snyder
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing

The 171st Air Refueling Wing hosted 30 Airmen from the 159th Fighter Wing as a part of a collaborative training effort to accomplish core competency training for Airmen of the Logistics Readiness Squadron from June 6, 2022-June 15, 2022.  

The 159th FW, located in Louisiana, needed to complete training requirements for items that are not a part of their routine operations, such as snow readiness and cargo processing. The fighter wing’s F-15C aircraft do not carry cargo, and the fighter wing does not experience much snow. However, the Airmen assigned to the 159th are still required to have hands-on experiences with these tasks. 

“One of the main reasons for traveling outside of the unit was for compliance,” said Lt. Col. Trupiano, commander of the Logistics Readiness Squadron at the 159th FW.

“We have tankers here, and they have fighters there, but when we deploy down range, it does not matter what airframe or mission you have at your home station. It’s about being able to do your job in any environment,” said Capt. Chris Bowser, installation deployment officer at the 171st ARW. 

Although each base has very different aircraft, the collaborative efforts between the two units has established a unique relationship. This relationship will allow each base to receive necessary training to stay qualified for the myriad of responsibilities Airmen need to be "always ready."

“We refuel fighters, so having a solid relationship with a fighter wing can help us better prepare our people,” said Bowser. 

“It pushes the mission forward when you are connecting both bases,” said Truipiano.

Collaborating with other units not only allows for relationship building and training, but it also encourages an exchange of shared knowledge, which allows Airmen to validate established processes.

“It’s always good to look through a different lens. AFI’s (Air Force Instruction) can be left to interpretation, so it’s good to see how someone else is accomplishing tasks,” said Trupiano.

“Across the force, the same systems are used. It’s all about standardization. So, when you have people with shared experiences who can share their knowledge, it’s a win-win,” said Bowser. “At the end of the day, it allows for us to work better as a collective force in any environment.”

While the main goal of the connection between the two units was training, mentorship happened organically through their interactions. 

“We’ve been able to collaborate on training, but now it’s extending into the roles of mentorship where you’re talking to someone who walked the same paths that you are about to,” said Bowser. 

“It also contributes to unit cohesion,” said Trupiano. 

Partnerships, like the one established between the 171st and 159th, increase interoperability and readiness.

“The ultimate goal is to get the mission done, and we can foster and cultivate that by working with others,” said Bowser.