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'Getting to know you, getting to know all about you'

Members from the 182nd Mission Support Group learn about the capabilities of a monocular devices used in air support operations from Senior Master Sgt. Curtt Stevens, 169th ASOS. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane P. Hill

Members from the 182nd Mission Support Group learn about the capabilities of a monocular devices used in air support operations from Senior Master Sgt. Curtt Stevens, 169th ASOS. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane P. Hill

PEORIA, Illinois -- Author Margaret J. Wheatley once said, "Successful organizations, including the Military, have learned that the higher the risk, the more necessary it is to engage everyone's commitment and intelligence." Following that logic, it is the duty of the 182nd Airlift Wing to support its frontline personnel with anything they need.

The need is often supplied by the 182nd Mission Support Group to the 168th and the 169th Air Support Operations Squadrons under the new 182 Air Support Operations Group. That is why Lt. Col. Cory K. Reid, Commander of the 182nd Mission Support Group and Lt. Col. Mark D. Auer, Commander of the 182nd Air Support Operations Group held a leadership exchange at the Air Support Operations Composite Training Facility on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008.

The leadership exchange allowed both groups to see the equipment and mission capability of Tactical Air Control Party members, commonly referred to as TACP, who work in the 182 ASOG. Members of the ASOG gave a demonstration and presentation of their capabilities to the MSG. Given the demands and responsibility of TACPs in the frontlines of the Global War on Terror, both Auer and Reid wanted a way for senior enlisted and junior officer personnel to communicate their innerconsecutiveness.

"I think it is important that we are cognoscente of each others missions so we can help each other," said Reid.

Auer pointed out that the meeting also allowed for better understanding of what the ASOS does.

"For years the ASOS worked on the other side of base without much knowledge of what they do and we didn't get to know each other. We want to build a relationship so that officers and senior NCOs know how each other work," said Auer who added that the relationship was critical due to the sustained combat duty that ASOS members face.

Since 9-11 over 90 percent of the ASOS personnel have been deployed. Everything from ground radio equipment to uniforms that allow ASOS personnel to blend in with Army personnel are needed for their support of the war effort and the Mission Support Group helps supply that, said Master Sgt. Steven Salander, 169th ASOS.

The ASOS advises ground forces on aircraft employment and capabilities, and coordinates and controls aerospace operations, while participating in battle planning. Generally, members are attached to Army units and call in air strikes using numerous forms of communication. Members of the ASOS have been attached with units ranging from infantry to Special Forces. With the intent of the leadership exchange focused on informing MSG Members of how the ASOS works, Reid was pleased by the delivery of that message.

"I have received nothing but positives from the presentation," said Reid, adding that many in attendance stated that they did not realize the nature of what the ASOS does on the frontlines.

Master Sgt. Jennifer Daugherty, 182nd Base Education and Training, who was a member of the audience, agreed.

"I think they were successful. A lot of individuals don't really know what the ASOG does, as they were not co-located with us. I also don't think people realize the strict requirements to become a TACP or ALO (Air Liaison Officers) and the challenges they face," said Daugherty, who works to help send ASOS members to training schools. "One thing that wasn't brought up today was that the 1C4 Career field (TACP) is a male only career field and is very difficult. Not only do they do our PT test, but they have to pass the Army PASS test (their version of PT) before even shipping to BMT. I lose about 60% of individuals at tech school because of this."

With the success of the message conveyed by the ASOG about what they do, Reid would like to make leadership exchanges a quarterly tradition in the 182nd, bridging communication for NCO to command and increasing the ability of personnel to work together.

And with that logic, starting with the commitment of our frontline troops to demonstrating their capability to the 182nd, we will be sure to find continued success in our organization.