KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The mission of the 58th Special Operations Wing is to train Air Force Special Operations, combat search and rescue, and nuclear surety operations aircrew. But the wing doesn’t do it alone.
As the host wing, the 377th Air Base Wing provides the mission support function that the 58th SOW doesn’t have.
“We have 107 mission partners on this base besides the 58th SOW and they all have things that are extremely important to them and extremely important to people that rely on their work,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David S. Miller, 377th ABW commander. “The Airmen of the 377th ABW work around the clock to ensure excellent base support is provided not only to the 58th SOW but to all our mission partners.”
The 377th ABW is responsible for providing support to base operations. The wing ensures the people living and working on Kirtland Air Force Base have the necessary support to conduct their jobs and carry out their missions. This includes facility maintenance, personnel support, security, utilities, and medical care.
“The primary mission of the 58th Operations Group is to train students,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Richard Carrell, 58th OG commander. “Without the help of the 377th ABW, we could not accomplish our mission.”
This support wouldn’t be possible without good communication between the two wings.
“Team Kirtland and the 377th ABW are responsible for multiple high-vis missions,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Justin Hoffman, 58th SOW commander. “The 58th SOW is only one of many tenant organizations, but notably the only flying wing at Kirtland.”
Team effort is what it takes every day for both wings to accomplish their mission.
“The 58th SOW does not have the traditional mission support group or medical group that a stand-alone wing would have,” said Hoffman. “Like the 100 plus other tenant organizations on base, we rely on the 377th to provide that support to our Airmen.”
In late September, a 58th SOW UN-H1 Huey Helicopter had a precautionary landing off the installation in a remote location. Due to a mechanical issue, the helicopter couldn’t be fixed at the location and flown back to base, but needed to be transported back for maintenance to be accomplished, according to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Wallace Jr, 58th Maintenance Squadron assistant flight chief and Crash Recovery Team chief.
The 377th Mission Support and Security Forces Groups, along with the Crash Recovery Team from the 58th MXS played a critical role in ensuring the safe return of the Huey after three days on the ground off the installation, according to U.S. Air Force Col. John Baquet, 58th Maintenance Group commander.
“The reason for the three-day recovery operation was that a specific crane was required to lift this helicopter to a flatbed trailer for transport back to Kirtland,” said Baquet. “All of Kirtland’s cranes were suspended from use due to a short-notice, but necessary Air Force safety inspection.”
The 377th ABW brought the civil engineering contractor, PAE, on the team, and they were able to provide the necessary crane and driver. The 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron provided flatbed trucks and a mobile maintenance team to move equipment and deliver onsite support in case something didn’t go according to plan, Baquet recalled.
“This was clearly a team effort,” said Baquet. “Mission success was only possible through the efforts of the entire team.”
It’s teamwork like this that ensures readiness for both the 377th ABW and the 58th SOW.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what patch you wear on your shoulder, it’s about making the mission happen and taking care of Airmen,” said Hoffman. “To effectively do this, it truly takes a team effort!”