477th Fighter Group's May UTA return

  • Published
  • By Song Jordan
  • 477th Fighter Group

After taking steps to improve safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many 477th Fighter Group Reserve Citizen Airmen returned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska for the May 2020 Unit Training Assembly.  

“We have been working with our total force mission partners in the 3d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who were able to quickly get masks and included us, so, we have been able to implement that risk mitigation into our operations,” said Maj Rebecca Daugherty, Commander of the 477th AMXS.

In addition to the use of face masks, service members took steps to practice physical distancing and sanitize equipment.  
Some 477th Airmen teleworked as well, to ensure service members accomplished physical duties as safely as possible. Supervisors assigned tasks, training, and professional military education, which Reservists could conduct online or by computer.

“This provides opportunities to strengthen administrative program management in a number of our additional duty areas that can be hard to maintain when flying a more robust schedule,” said Daugherty. 

477th FG support staff also adopted teleworking. Many employees have been teleworking since Col. Brett Paola, Commander of the 477th FG, executed a Continuity of Operations in March.  

The tactical pause ensured that the 477th FG could spring into action at a moment’s notice supporting the 3d WG, JBER Total Force, and the Nation. 

U.S. Air Force flying missions have continued around the globe, as COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic. JBER service members continued to conduct operations in defense of the U.S. The physical presence of 477th FG Airmen during the UTA marked the unit’s return to the on-going installation flying operations.   
Flying missions require many more people than pilots.  

“The Hellions are the most experienced, and most lethal F-22 pilots in the Air Force.  Regardless of whether you fly that F-22, whether you maintain it, or whether you execute a support function in the FSS, you play a role in producing combat airpower.  I hope you’re proud of that too,” said Lt. Col. Brian Budde, Commander of the 302d Fighter Squadron.

Budde said the 477th FG has proven themselves, despite the unforeseen disruptions COVID-19 has introduced to the world.

“I am proud of this team – not only of the Hellions, but of everyone who supports these warfighters!  I’m proud of their resilience, their sense of humor, and their council through what has been a difficult leadership challenge.”