'Clean Corridor' ensures mobilization success

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mary Begy
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – More than 50 Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing here, departed for a deployment in early April along with four KC-135R Stratotankers.

This deployment marks the first major mobilization since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

507th Air Refueling Wing commander, Col. Michael Parks, highlighted the wing’s ability to step up in these unique circumstances.

“Unlike previous mobilizations, every step of the deployment process incorporated COVID-19 mitigation protocols to ensure the safety and welfare of our Airmen,” Parks said. “The Okie team fought through the pandemic to protect the Airmen, their families, and Tinker Air Force Base while still delivering combat forces on time.”

The Okies are integral to the overseas mission and bring critical airpower and support to worldwide operations.

“Our Reserve Citizen Airmen enable our nation to fly, fight, and win with airpower anytime, anywhere, by providing lifesaving COVID-19 assistance, logistical support overseas, base defense support at overseas installations and KC-135 operations and maintenance, ” said Parks.

The wing took several steps to ensure the safety of the deployers. Ms. Julie Hudson, 507th Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics plans superintendent, worked with the members here as well as the units downrange to keep the COVID-19 risk as low as possible.

“The aviation deployment packages were approved for in-residence restriction of movement prior to departure, and the members were required to adhere to strict CDC guidelines,” Hudson said. “Every member was also subject to on-site COVID-19 testing prior to reporting for processing.”

507th MXG deployment manager, Ms. Angela Dail, processed the deployers through a clean corridor as they prepared to board the jet ensuring the standards set forth during the restriction of movement were upheld during the mobilization.

“The clean corridor provides a sterilized area that meets CDC recommendations and maintains our passengers' safety,” Dail said. “It is essential that these standards are upheld until the deployers reach the area of responsibility.”

With new challenges to overcome, the Okie team came together to improve and design processes to keep Reservists safe and ensure mission readiness and combat-ready Airmen to the combatant command.

“While many of our Airmen are deployed, the wing remains busy with our home station mission and our commitment to accelerate readiness,” Parks said. “We seek to provide unwavering care for the families of our deployed Reservists.”