FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
The 92nd Air Refueling Wing was recently the first wing in Air Mobility Command to implement contract support for operational squadrons. The Tanker Squadron Operations Support program has been a major turning point in quality of life for the 92nd ARW Airmen.
The TSOS program was initiated at the 92nd ARW by the 384th Air Refueling Squadron to help scheduling, training, standardization and evaluation programs, and readiness sections maintain continuity in the face of a high operations tempo.
The program provides easier access to hands-on training for aircrew members and reduces process errors. Contractors help track and update databases about aircrew readiness, temporary duty assignments, local training and upgrade programs, said Lt. Col. Aaron Strode, 384th ARS director of operations.
As a result, Airmen are more effectively utilized and guided through the processes for deployments, exercises and other mission related activities.
“Within the first three weeks of this program, our shops cleared an incredible amount of back-logged paperwork,” said Lt. Col. Sean McClune, 384th ARS commander. “This program is not something we want to keep to ourselves. We’re in our first month and the increase to quality of life and service has been a night-and-day change.”
The 384th ARS teamed with the 92nd Contracting Squadron for roughly eight months to implement the program.
“Getting these contractors has been a collaborative effort,” McClune said. “We have four contractors assigned to my squadron and 12 total in all the air refueling squadrons at Fairchild. They have helped greatly reduce the chance of errors. They’ve also kept our aircrew progressing and help forecast our operational requirements.”
This program has kept critical processes moving, rather than stalling-out for a period of time due to deployments or missions. When Airmen return from a deployment, instead of not knowing where the last Airman left off, they’re now able to get a clear answer from support personnel who can say ‘this is where we are today, this is where we’re going and this is what needs to get done,’” McClune said.
“Airmen are able to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently with the support of this program,” he added. “It doesn’t remove additional duties, but it makes their jobs easier to be completed, and done proficiently.”
TSOS has greatly improved the quality of life and service for Fairchild Airmen through bringing continuity into the squadron.
“When our continuity breaks down, stability for our Airmen then breaks down, which leads to a break down in quality of life and service,” McClune said.
For example, with the help of TSOS Airmen may get a seven-day notice instead of two for a local mission, or extra time to prepare for an upcoming deployment. It helps Airmen plan their lives ahead of time.
The results have been benchmarked by AMC for success, and their products have been shared with eight wings to help them implement similar support for their Airmen.
“We had this idea and weren’t sure at first how to make it happen. Luckily for us, the 92nd Contracting Squadron is very much a ‘yes-oriented’ organization. If it weren’t for our relationship with them and the support of Air Mobility Command, none of this would have been possible. This program has helped greatly with our continuity and being able to meet our operational requirements,” McClune said.