Sabers share expertise with Ukrainian officers

Col. Volodymyr Voldov, Ukrainian armed forces logistics officer, tours the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron supply warehouse. (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sawyer)

Col. Volodymyr Voldov, Ukrainian armed forces logistics officer, tours the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron supply warehouse. (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sawyer)

Chief Master Sgt. Dusty Kirk, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, explains supply operations as, Iryna Yantalets, Ukrainian interpreter, translates for visiting Ukrainian armed forces officers. (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sawyer)

Chief Master Sgt. Dusty Kirk, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, explains supply operations as, Iryna Yantalets, Ukrainian interpreter, translates for visiting Ukrainian armed forces officers. (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sawyer)

Members of the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron discuss the unit’s mission with four visiting Ukrainian armed forces force logistics officers. (US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tammie Moore)

Members of the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron discuss the unit’s mission with four visiting Ukrainian armed forces force logistics officers. (US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tammie Moore)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- Four Ukrainian armed forces logistics officers traveled to Spangdahlem Air Base Jan. 29 through Feb. 2 to learn about U.S. and NATO standards of aviation logistics operations.

During their five-day visit, the Ukrainian officers received several in-depth briefings from members of the base which covered areas as broad as the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron's mission and as detailed as the unit's philosophy.

One of the first official events on the visitors' schedule was a briefing by Maj. Dana Pelletier, 52nd LRS commander, about the functions that fall under the squadron and how these responsibilities are divided among its flights.

"In the Air Force, LRS has a short history," Major Pelletier said. "In 2001, there were three separate squadrons: transportation, supply and logistics. Those squadrons were part of the logistics group. In 2001 all of the logistics support group functions came together under the mission support group."

Throughout Major Pelletier's initial briefing, with the assistance of a translator, the Ukrainian officers took notes and asked questions about funding and the ideal number of personnel to meet mission capabilities. In the days following this first sit down, the visiting officers met with numerous LRS and other base representatives who shared knowledge about thier specific specialties.

Capt. Melissa Jordan, 52nd LRS supply chain management, flight commander, talked to the visitors about supply management-one of their major areas of interest.

The officers were interested in the deployment of packages and what makes the most sense sustaining forces deployed in theater. They were extremely receptive and wanted to know every detail, Captain Jordan said. The Ukrainians were also very interested in the Air Force culture and the amount of responsibility given to the enlisted force.

While examining the broader picture of logistics operations, the visiting officers took a close look at how all of the sections come together to form the big picture.

"The event assisted the Ukrainian armed forces in developing, improving and implementing a NATO compatible aircraft logistics concept and system of operations," said Capt. Cathy Kneuer, 52nd LRS vehicle operations flight commander. "The Ukrainian armed forces became familiarized with logistics operations at an operational U.S. Air Force installation.

By visiting a wide array of agencies, such as 52nd Maintenance Operation Squadron, agencies that are impacted by logistics operations, the officers, were able to see the full process in action.

"This was important for them to see our processes in order for them to emulate what we do," Captain Kneuer said. "It was also important for us to learn how they do their processes in the Urkarine."

To make the visit a success, members of the 52nd LRS dedicated time beforehand to learn about the Ukrainian culture. In addition, Airman 1st Class Aleksandr Dromov, 52nd LRS supply technician, who lived in the Ukraine for the first nine years of his life, often assisted with technical portions of the translations.

"Airman Dromov went a long way toward bridging the cultural gap," Captain Jordan said. "He also taught us a lot about the culture so we were better able to communicate. We got more accomplished because of him."

For Airman Dromov, who also briefed the officers about his job at the warehouse, this visit was a unique opportunity to reconnect with a part of his past.

"Spending time with them made me realize how much I miss my home," he said. "I have not been there in 11 years."

In addition to providing the Ukrainian officers with information they can use to shape their logistics operations to mirror the logistics operations of other NATO countries, members of the 52nd LRS took a great deal away from the visit as well.

"The interface with the Ukrainian air force members was a mutual learning experience for all of us -- not just the visitors," Captain Jordan said. "As we increasingly find ourselves working alongside members of coalition forces, exchanges such as this one can help us develop a cross-cultural skill set that we can apply just about anywhere our duties take us, both at home station and downrange."