Seymour Johnson Reservists say “ciao” to annual training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mario Daye
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing
Roughly 60 members of the 916th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 567th RED HORSE Squadron stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. packed their bags in June for a not-so-typical annual tour.

These Air Force reservists were afforded an opportunity to do their two-week annual training overseas at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

While overseas training isn’t unusual as many units travel to support active duty bases across the globe, it isn’t the norm either. Traditional reservists have a responsibility to stay up-to-date with the core tasks required by their jobs in a war, and peacetime, environment. This training can be accomplished several ways such as through home station or stateside training, but every so often reservists are tasked with a temporary duty assignment overseas where they can train in their career fields as if they were deployed, work side-by-side with active duty counterparts, and gain the knowledge and experience of working in a completely different training environment than what they are used to when stateside.

In early June, reservists from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. boarded the military jet with enthusiasm and suspense wondering what this journey to Northern Italy had in store.

“I was excited yet nervous since it was my first time flying in a military plane,” said Airman First Class Naomi Valdovinos-Flores, supply specialist.

Although going to another country and experiencing another culture while training can be exciting, it was bittersweet for some.

Master Sgt. Christopher Hunter said he was initially worried about leaving his family for several weeks because he knew it would be hard on them. Ultimately he was happy he got the chance to go because his troops were well-trained by their 31st LRS counterparts.

The 31st LRS at Aviano was more than prepared to train the 916th LRS having an outstanding reputation stateside among many Reserve units that opt to spend their annual tour overseas.

“My training was great,” said Senior Airman Aunjle Woodson, logistics plans specialist. “[They] did a wonderful job of explaining the logistic plans process and how to make my job easier.”

“In a few years I wouldn’t mind coming back over here,” said Staff Sgt. Dexter Smith, supply specialist.

Whether they come back to Aviano or train elsewhere, members of the 916th LRS are definitely better prepared for their every day mission and enthused about their training opportunity.