Scores of reservists join Total Force effort

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- About 200 Air Force reservists from the 439th Airlift Wing are deployed to a pair of undisclosed locations here as well as in Baghdad. Capt. Kristin Montville and Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Colwell are among these Airmen, whose home station is Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, and they make up two-thirds of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing’s intelligence section.

“Most of our time is spent doing analysis and creating products to send out to other units and to brief to our leadership,” Montville said. “We produce products that are used for decision-making and execution by the wing commander, OSI, Air Forces Central and others.”

Additional Westover Airmen who recently arrived in the area of responsibility comprise other career fields; including aerial port, force support, staff judge advocate, civil engineering, chaplain, chaplain assistants, logistics readiness, security forces, maintenance, communications and public affairs. The six-month deployments support Operation Inherent Resolve.

“A lot of the active duty personnel I talk to say they’d never heard of Westover before they got here,” Montville said. “And they say, ‘but you guys are everywhere!’”

Intelligence Airmen support the wing staff and force protection for the undisclosed location’s airlift, reconnaissance and electronic warfare flying missions.

The Total Force concept is a manning pillar in the expeditionary world. According to local personnel statistics, some 45 percent of the Airmen based with the 386th AEW Marauders are Reservists or Guardsmen. Most of the Air Force reservists are deployed through the summer and the end of the year, while a small number left New England in the spring and will return in the fall.

Master Sgt. Michelangelo Dotimas is a project management noncommissioned officer in charge with the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron. “In our five-person shop, we have oversight on more than 30 construction projects on the base,” he said. And junior enlisted Airmen, like Senior Airman Joel Torres, also from Westover, are already gaining valuable experience on the deployment. He’s in charge of a two-person geobase shop, where all the maps on base are produced.

Other Westover Airmen, like Senior Airman Tyler Lesniak, literally keep the mission moving. He’s a vehicle operator on his first deployment. Amid the intense desert heat, Lesniak ferries aircrews from the busy flight line to the main base. “We’re getting the job done, and doing what we need to do to support the mission,” he said.

No matter what the demands of a deployment call for, these reservists are answering the call as they’ve joined the Marauders in performing the expeditionary mission every day.