349 OSS, 60 OSS work and succeed together

  • Published
  • By 349th AMW Public Affairs staff
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing

When a major renovation of the 60th Operations Support Squadron’s office space forced them to search for new digs around early spring of 2020, their reserve counterparts at the 349th OSS knew just the right place.

“I just made the offer for them to move in with us,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Palacio, 349th OSS senior intelligence officer.

Palacio said he knew the 60th OSS needed to move out of their space for a period of time, so he had a few conversations with them about what they were looking to do in the meantime.

One idea was to set up trailers in a temporary location during the construction project that is supporting the 2023 arrival of the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus at Travis, but Palacio thought co-locating the squadrons was a workable solution for everyone.

“It’s always difficult to get out of your comfort zone,” said Maj. Brian Brewster, 60th OSS senior intelligence officer. “The vault that was in place had been located in our office for many decades. When we found out Lt. Col. Palacio had opened up his reserve office, it seemed like the perfect scenario.”

The new operation security vault currently under construction will be furnished with all new equipment, so the transport of items to the temporary location was minimal.

The move was smooth for the teams. With the 349th OSS vault in place, it was just a matter of walking in and getting to work.

“I know the 60th OSS is here during the week, and my force is here during the unit training assembly weekends, so it works out,” said Palacio.

“We left most of our area open to them. We roped off three offices for our reservists needs. Basically we said, ‘here you go.’ They did all of the leg work to make the transition happen and we went through the process of granting them access.

”Brewster credits the success of their teamwork to having early conversations with Palacio about how each unit would accomplish their work.

“The aircrews asked us how mission planning was going to work with the reserve and active duty all working at the same time,” recalled Brewster.

“Lt. Col. Palacio and I were the only two in the room and we were like, ‘We’re good.’”

“We had a memorandum of understanding,” explained Brewster. “We had already defined the boundaries for how each of us would operate, and it has worked out phenomenally!”

The reservists are getting real time training amidst a real world mission. During a scheduled UTA weekend or on annual tour in active duty status, mission training is hands-on readiness.

In August when Operation ALLIES REFUGE, noncombatant evacuation operation, in Afghanistan took place, the on call 60th OSS team arrived and immediately went to work briefing aircrews around the clock.

Situation reports and updates were changing hourly.

“Whoever was here for the morning briefings from the reserve team, were also invited to every single meeting. They were included in our internal training as well,” recalled Brewster.

Another benefit was 349th Air Mobility Wing leadership and crews remained fully engaged on the tactics and conveyance of timely information.

“Obviously, during the NEO our leadership was very interested in what was going on. We knew we were going to be flying on those missions, so it did end up being a nice benefit to have us all in one place. We were all able to stay on the same page,” said Palacio.

As an Air Reserve Technician, Palacio is responsible for the well-being of traditional reservists, which includes a lot of administrative work. Getting thrown into an operational environment and processing all of the incoming information was advantageous for him and his team.

“Listening to what active duty were doing and briefing was to be plugged in. It can be difficult when you mix two groups together that are all using the same equipment. Other than that, it’s working just fine,” said Palacio.

The 60th OSS will return to their permanent home upon the projected completion of the KC-46A three-bay hanger in 2023.