Team McChord Airmen depart for XAB 24.2 deployment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Megan Geiger
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Over 150 Team McChord Airmen said farewell to friends and family before deploying as Lead Wing in support of Expeditionary Air Base 24.2 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, March 30, 2024.

The new XAB deployment model allows for units to deploy together enabling a smoother transition with established relationships and unit cohesion. This also provides Airmen the ability to prepare and train together, enhancing proficiency and strategic readiness while supporting the 62nd Airlift Wing’s priority in fostering resilient and ready Airmen to execute the mission.

“This deployment is the culmination of the last six months of work and preparation across Team McChord,” said Col. Sergio Anaya, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “This is a new model for how we mobilize forces overseas and have been in coordination and communication with the base we are going to. While deployed we will be supporting operations in the Middle East which is dynamic right now, so this is a crucial moment.”

The new model shifts the structure of AEW into force elements focused on mission planning, command and control and establishing and operating the base.

“This deployment is a fantastic opportunity for us to maneuver into a new area and dial in our focus on mission priorities,” said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Davidson, the 386th AEW senior enlisted leader. “We are the Lead Wing and are responsible for mobilizing, deploying, and sustaining our forces and missions anywhere, anytime.”

Lead Wings employ their own Air Staff, comprised of a full spectrum of military specialties including communications, logistics, operations, planning, intelligence and many other functional area experts.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead this group downrange in a really fast-paced and dynamic environment,” said Col. Jeremy Sheppard, the 386th Expeditionary Air Base Group commander. “We will have nine squadrons in the 386th EABG all focused on ensuring mission success.”

For some Airmen, XAB 24.2 will be their first deployment experience.

“This is my first deployment and I’m excited for it,” said Senior Airman Billy Areba, a 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron fleet management journeyman. “Professionally, I’m looking forward to working at a higher level and gaining unique experiences which will help me once I become a sergeant. Personally, I want to focus my downtime on fitness and education.”

Airmen and their families spent several months preparing for the deployment. Prior to their departure, Team McChord held a deployment fair for Airmen and their families to learn about the resources and support available to both the Airmen down-range and their families here at home.

“A huge thanks to the entire team for making this deployment happen and a special thank you to all the family members who support their deploying loved-ones in preparation for today,” said Anaya. “We always talk about the member who raises their hand and volunteers to serve, but I feel it’s important to thank the family members and significant others as well who sacrifice just as much.”