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Travis’ 60th Operations Group gets spotlight during Airman enrichment program

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christian Conrad
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen from Travis AFB had the opportunity to flex their operational muscles June 14 as part of an on-base enrichment program focused on the mission of Travis’ 60th Operations Group.

The program, a brainchild of Chief Master Sgt. Erick Fierro, 9th Air Refueling Squadron superintendent, was created with the ambitious task of exposing Airmen from across all of Travis’ 34 squadrons to each other’s jobs and mission contributions.

From a C-5M Super Galaxy simulation to a walk-through of some 60th OG flight line assets, participants had the chance to walk the steps of the Airmen responsible for flying Travis tails where they need to be and keeping their crews sharp.

It was in this way Travis leadership looked to shift Airmen empowerment and teamwork from a kind of abstract lip service to something much more actionable, Fierro said.

The idea for the program came about as a simple, if not daunting, answer to a question prevalent throughout the military: How do you effectively illustrate to a service member how their work contributes to the capital “M” mission? Fierro’s answer: Just show them.

“I think there’s sometimes the tendency to overthink in the military,” Fierro said. “We’re an organization whose command of logistics is nearly unrivaled, but it’s the seemingly simple people problems that tend to trip us up.”

Fierro’s idea was straightforward: take Airmen of different career fields out of their shops for a day and let them see the mission of another squadron. By initiating conversations between Airmen—by giving Airmen the opportunity to speak to those their work affects—Fierro hoped to turn whatever potential feelings of hazy ambiguity in respect to the Travis mission into a concrete renewal of purpose, bold and resolute in its undertaking.

“The mission of Travis is unique,” Fierro said. “I see a lot of new Airmen come to base and I sense it can be difficult for them to really pick out exactly where they fall within such a dynamic mission. Boiled down to its essentials, though, we’re all here because of those giant pieces of metal out on the flight line. Everything we do, regardless of our jobs or squadrons, lends to getting them off the ground and getting to where they need to be. It is vital we show Airmen that what they do has value.”

For Fierro, the success of the Travis mission is because of the services Airmen who washed dishes in the dining facility keeping the base healthy, the finance Airmen who keeps the base funded and the maintainer keeping aircraft from falling apart in the middle of a flight.

At its core, he said, the Travis mission is a machine. Every cog has a purpose and every gear pushes forward because of the support of the one behind it.

“Our human capital is Travis’ most valuable asset,” he said. “If we’re not enriching the people getting the mission done, we’re not enriching the mission, period.”

One of the participants in the day’s events was Tech. Sgt. Adrian Perez, 60th Medical Support Squadron Client Service Center technician. Perez, like many other Airmen attendees, knew very little about the 60th OG heading into the day.

“This was the first time I got to see the flight line side of the mission,” he said. “Before today, the (60th) OG buildings were just these weird, nondescript structures on that side of base, but now I actually understand a little about what they do here, and with that comes more respect for what those Airmen do.”

That’s not to say respect wasn’t there to begin with, he said, but experiencing the group’s mission firsthand offered a new dimension to it.

“It’s easy to look at another squadron’s job and say, ‘Ah, what do you know about work?’” he continued. “But it’s harder to actually take the time and give it a closer look and have a conversation with some of that squadron’s Airmen. Harder, yeah, but worthwhile. We all work incredibly hard at what we do, and I give the 60th OG props for all the training they do and all the work that goes into all their jobs.”

Perez, impressed by the squadron’s camaraderie, walked away inspired and appreciative for the opportunity.

“It’s important to know what all of us go through and what kind of obstacles and hindrances exist in accomplishing their side of the mission,” he said. “We’re a team and a big part of being a team is knowing the strengths of each member. The 60th OG is a powerhouse and they do a lot to make that team feel more like a family.”

The next Airman enrichment day is slated to be hosted by the 60th Medical Group.