INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
(This feature is part of the "Lights Out" series. These stories focus on the operations Airmen conducted at Incirlik Air Base during the eight day commercial power outage in July 2016.)
During a loss of commercial power to Incirlik Air Base in July 2016, Airmen assigned to the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron deployment and distribution flight worked to keep cargo flowing out to units.
The flight is responsible for the centralized command and control, planning, and execution of all wing deployment operations and the distribution of cargo around base.
Airman 1st Class Daniel Josephson, 39th LRS traffic management journeyman, also a building custodian, was one of the first to respond after commercial power was lost.
“It was really hard to communicate,” said Josephson. “I turned my hotspot on and immediately started getting messages from the other building custodian I work with. He came in immediately to maintain the generator. We had to keep power on in the building to keep operations rolling.”
The building soon became more than just a workplace, but a refuge for Airmen seeking solace during the power outage.
“Everyone came to this building almost like a home,” said Josephson. “They wanted to be with people, connect and feel comfort. That’s what this building became and it felt pretty good to be one of the people who maintained it.”
During the power outage, operations for flight Airmen picked up with reception for aircraft inbound with an influx of fuel bladders, generators, support equipment and meals, ready to eat.
“All the supplies that units on base need comes through us,” said 1st Lt. Emily Fontenot, 39th LRS deployment and distribution flight commander. “It’s directed here and we send it out. If aircraft don’t have their parts able to come into Incirlik, they can’t continue their mission.”
Fontenot, who reported to Incirlik shortly before the loss of power, remembers the experience as one of her first here.
“It was amazing to see these Airmen come together,” said Fontenot. “The comradery and the brotherhood I saw during and after (the power outage) was amazing. I didn’t know what I was walking into since this is a brand new base to me, and to see that showed a strong support system and I am extremely proud of my flight for showing that.”
After six days of 24-hour operations, commercial power was restored. Shortly thereafter, the flight realized their workload was only beginning.
“We got about 10 trucks of cargo just full of boxes, pallets, crates, engine containers; everything was on those trucks,” said Josephson. “We all banded together, offloaded the trucks and checked everything. We just tackled it together and it was no sweat.”
With the experience now behind them, the deployment and distribution flight continues to operate with newfound comradery and support.