172nd AW trains with Ramstein Airmen

by 2nd Lt. Aliesha Johnson
172nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Mississippi Air National Guard‘s 172nd Airlift Wing traveled to Ramstein Air Base in Germany to work and train side-by-side with active-duty Airmen.

“The training and experiences are mutually beneficial,” said Lt. Col Cheryl Sanders, 172nd Force Support Squadron commander. “Our Airmen get to experience scenarios and opportunities that are unique to overseas active-duty bases, while we also provide much needed relief to the Airmen at Ramstein.”

The experience was not the first time the two forces have worked together.

“We have a long-standing relationship with the 86th Airlift Wing that has developed over years of annual training,” said Sanders. “Our members will return to Mississippi with a new aspect on their service after working with the active-duty Airmen.”

Capt. Roy Clark, 172nd Airlift Wing chaplain experienced one of the best examples of the effects of the unique opportunity.

While at Ramstein, Clark, a traditional Guardsman who pastors a small church in Mississippi, was able to see first-hand the effects of battle on service members.

“My heart felt so much adoration and joy when I was praying for and talking to the wounded service members,” Clark said. “It was sensational — a feeling that I just can’t put into words.”

Security forces Airmen from the Mississippi Air National Guard unit had similar experiences as they patrolled the streets and worked the gates in the Ramstein area.

“I appreciate the Airmen who work with the 86th Security Forces Squadron,” said Staff Sgt. Marquis Arterberry from the 172nd Security Forces Squadron. “We were able to benefit from our own unique experiences. They reached out to me and allowed me to see some of the scenarios that are exclusive to European units. I saw a lot of good things while working here and I hope to implement some of the lessons learned into my operations at the 172nd.”

172nd AW SF members said they were excited about the opportunity of patrolling a larger installation with such high demand.

“It’s a rewarding experience,” said Airman 1st Class, Sadie Langlois, a member of the 172nd SFS. “We’re getting hands-on training and finding out different measures and means to various aspects of our job.”

Not only were security forces Airmen able to partner with the active-duty forces, but members from the 172nd AW Communications Flight assisted with installing voice over Internet protocol phone systems here, while other Airmen provided relief to active-duty forces in the dining facility and fitness center.

Senior Airman Alamein Lewis, 172nd Force Support Squadron services member, said her experience was phenomenal.

“This experience gave me a different perspective of my actual job,” said Lewis. “Being a traditional
member of the Air National Guard, I do not get to see various aspects of my job in action very often, but this experience has allowed me to put my training from technical school and career development course books into practice.”

Along with creating more familiarity between guardsmen and active duty, combining the two forces
made an impressive experience on the 172nd Airmen. Members of the 172nd AW learned to keep an open mind, be prepared mentally as well as physically, and maintain a great attitude.

“We appreciate the cooperation with the active-duty forces in Ramstein,” Sanders said. “We hope to put this training in use back at our home station when we return. We have enjoyed the cool temperatures and warm welcome. We are grateful for this opportunity and hope we left a positive impression.”