JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C.-- –
Covid-19 has completely changed the world as we know it, but that doesn’t mean readiness and global mobility at comes to a standstill at Joint Base Charleston, the mission must go on.
Captain Tony Urbino, a pilot and aircraft commander from the 15th Airlift Squadron, describes the importance of full spectrum readiness and upholding standards.
“We need to be ready for anything, we’re still flying missions and doing as many locals as we can,” said Urbino.
“Locals” are a form of training missions that are conducted within the area of Joint Base Charleston. Local missions can typically consist of assault zone landings, inflight air refueling and tactical low levels.
Missions like these provide pilots and Airmen alike with the training they need to keep them from becoming stagnant and unprepared.
Captain Ryan Sunderland, a co-pilot from the 16th Airlift Squadron, also recognizes the importance of consistency and proficiency that’s needed to stay mission-ready.
“Our worldwide capability requirements don’t go away just because there’s issues going on at home or around the world, you have to be able to do the mission regardless,” said Sunderland.
Since Covid-19, the Air Force has had to accommodate for ways to remain safe while training and adapt to the health precautions that have been put in place.
“We’ve been doing this for about a year now so we have a pretty good flow of how we handle everything,” said Sunderland. “We need to stay on top of our guidance as far as code restrictions go.”
Most countries have instituted health directives for the past year now and since Joint Base Charleston Airman have adapted their procedures and standards to social distancing and health guidance to maintain a proper posture during the pandemic.
During this specific mission, Urbino, Sunderland, and the rest of the air crew performed an off-station training (OST) which allows pilots to practice different patterns and exercises that they may not be able to do in a local mission at Charleston.
“These off-station trainers are perfect for practicing real world missions, there are some pretty awesome opportunities to get real-world training,” said Urbino. “We can even coordinate humanitarian aid to places like South America and the Pacific.”
During an OST mission, pilots like Urbino and Sunderland will coordinate every aspect of how the training and overall mission are conducted. This includes the airports they will utilize, lodging and all other specified training that will occur during the flight.
As long as Covid-19 persists, team Charleston will strive to maintain full spectrum readiness and global mobilization anywhere, at any time.