Team Kingsley Airmen deploy in support of dynamic fighter presence at Kadena

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Daniel Reed
  • 173FW

As an Air Education Training Command unit, the 173rd Fighter Wing is not traditionally tasked with large scale deployments; however, when the Air Force needed additional F-15 maintainers and operations support specialist, sixteen Team Kingsley Airmen answered the call to bolster the presence in the Pacific by deploying with a larger group to the island of Okinawa, Japan.

These Airmen, assigned to the 173rd Maintenance Group and the 173rd Operations Support Squadron, volunteered to assist its fellow fighter community by supporting the continuous fighter presence at Kadena Air Bir Base, Japan.   

While deployed, these Airmen will support deployed Air National F-15 Eagles that work in conjunction with additional heavy, reconnaissance, and fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft assets that are both augmented to and stationed at Kadena Air Base, ensuring a continued steady-state of fighter capabilities in the region.

Kingsley members and their families met in the base theater early morning late September, to receive their pre-deployment briefing, before stepping onto a bus for a seven-hour ride South, in preparation for their lengthy flight over the Pacific. 

Colonel Adam Gaudinski, 173rd Maintenance Group commander, was the first to speak to the deployers and their families as they departed.  

“I know you are about to take a trip overseas away from your families and I thank you for raising your hand and taking on that mission,” he said. 

“It is never easy leaving behind your loved ones to go serve your country, but I am confident you are going to go do great things in service of this country and your state.”

Families of the members sat and listened as Gaudinski relayed the accomplishments of the 173rd Fighter Wing and the impact they will have on the Eagle Enterprise by supporting this deployment over the next several months. 

He stressed the importance of providing a presence in the region as conflict arises throughout the theater of operations.

“I wish I could find a way to go with you, because I know you are going to do great things and make lasting relationships throughout your time over there,” said Gaudinski.

After the briefings ended, personnel were released to finish saying their goodbyes and to load onto the bus for the journey to California.

Loaded on the bus they were met by smiling faces and local Klamath Chamber Staff Executive Director Heather Harter. Harter presented everyone with handmade notes from local Klamath youth with a message of “Thanks for all you do.” Letters were distributed and the bus departed with a honking of its horn as a final goodbye to families waiting outside.