944 vehicle operators get hands-on training in Italy

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nestor Cruz
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The peaks of Italy’s Dolomites range loom over the 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron’s vehicle operations area while Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron work with their active-duty counterparts stationed at Aviano Air Base.
The six-man vehicle operations team are here for their annual tour and to gain training and experience.
“Our main purpose here is to support the active-duty personnel and assist them in accomplishing the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Roger Wiersum, 944 LRS NCO-in-charge of vehicle operations.
To that end, the Luke Airmen have been working with Aviano’s vehicle operators this past week on various vehicle-specific jobs they call a “run” including forklift runs, tractor trailer runs and wrecker runs. They also proved to be a valuable asset to the unit’s pick-up and delivery section.
Wiersum said his team has already achieved success with the mission after reaching just the halfway point of their tour here.
“I think the mission has been very successful,” he said. “We’re fully integrated in the active-duty mission and we feel like we’re part of the team and not a separate unit. They’ve put us on the same work and physical training schedule, and we’re included in their roster of daily duties.”
Vehicle operators on Wiersum’s team echo his sentiment of being part of the family in a new location.
“Things have been going great here,” said Senior Airman Ashley Arseo, 944 LRS vehicle operator. “Everyone has been really accepting and willing to help train us on the vehicles that we need to be trained on or any other areas in our career field that we might need a little experience with.”
Tech. Sgt. Phillip Denson, 31 LRS vehicle operations control center chief dispatcher, said the Luke Airmen have been an invaluable asset to his team.
“They came at a great time because our manning has been low recently, so their help is really appreciated,” Denson said. “We were also able to find the time and opportunity for some valuable training with them.”
Overall, both sides expressed great satisfaction in what the joint team has accomplished thus far and both sides hope for another team-up in the future.
“I think it gives us a sense of accomplishment to know that we’ve helped the active duty folks and our guys got the training they needed,” said Wiersum. “When it’s all said and done, hopefully we have worked and had fun along the way. Hopefully we’ll leave them with a good impression and they’ll invite us back. For me, that would be a great success.”