Now that's what I call high quality H20
By by Senior Airman Jacob Morgan, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2013
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing drink approximately 31,200 bottles of water per day. Ninety percent of the 380th's water is delivered by one Airman. With just two years of experience in the Air Force, Airman 1st Class Mickey Laskowsky is the operational side of the wing's annual two and a half million dollar water program to ensure each member is well hydrated.
"There is little room for error when it comes to making sure people are getting there water on time," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Starnes, 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron food service special events coordinator. "We give him that responsibility, because he has shown time and time again that he can handle it."
When he arrived to the 380th EFSS, the process of delivering water included taking orders from customers and delivering 60-case pallets of water to more than 60 locations across the base. After operating for a few weeks with no set map or distribution system, Laskowsky, a Pennsylvania Air National Guard member with the 171st Air Refueling Wing and firefighter with Moon Township in Pittsburgh, Penn., decided to streamline the system to be more proactive.
Laskowsky built a system for delivering water, from scratch, that would rival an effective paper-route.
Laskowsky starts his day at 5 a.m. every morning. While he walks to work, he checks his first two water drop-off points. He takes a mental note and continues to the Oasis Dining Facility, where he seems to put a smile on everyone's face.
He checks his map with detailed locations and building numbers, and jumps in his truck to check each point. On his morning drive, he will write down where water is needed and how much. Then he checks his email and water request lines, where he will get more requests. Once his numbers are down, he will go back to his map and plan his routes knowing his 6K forklift only carries one pallet at a time.
"You can put fresh pallets of water down every morning, I don't know where they go after they get put out, but sometimes 60 cases of water will disappear within hours," said Laskowsky, who spends eight of his 12 hours at work delivering water. "I never get down about the amount of work I have to do because I know water is essential."
Approximately 22 of his 58 drop-off locations are by request. Some of the locations also require water to be carried manually, and with it getting hotter, Laskowsky will be delivering more water than ever.
In anticipation of the increased demand Laskowsky tries to get ahead of the game, delivering more than he usually would to his high-demand locations. Sometimes, he even knows his customers will be out of water before they do.
"Working here the last three months, I have a schedule in my head of how much water some of the request locations use and how often," said Laskowsky. "I just try to stay pro-active and keep each location good to go."
By the time his shift is three-quarters of the way done, Laskowsky has tackled his entire route, but his day is not done yet. He also has other duties as the main forklift operator for the 380th EFSS including offloading food from delivery trucks and replacing old cooking oil for the dining facilities.
"The trust we have in him is a rare thing to find," said Starnes. "Bottom line is, I would trust him as an NCO. The amount of work he puts in everyday and the burden of the decisions he makes is that of an NCO."
According to Laskowsky, he originally joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard to support his wife and child after spending five years as a volunteer firefighter. He wanted to give his family a better life, but never thought he would be doing such an important job here.
"It's fun, its important and I enjoy doing it," said Laskowsky. "My goal is to make this system easier, but not for myself; for the next guy because without water, the mission wouldn't go."