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Commanding “Out-of-the-Box” in Poland

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Ballard
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
An Airman from the North Carolina Air National Guard was selected for commander of an “out-of-the-box” deployable airbase concept that was tested for the first time in Poland. Maj. John Thompson, 145th Mission Support Group, spent the majority of July and August in Poland as the exercise commander of the new Deployable Air Base System.

“It was simply an honor to represent the NCANG and be the commander to test a concept that was being used for the first time and to see its capabilities,” said Thompson.

The Deployable Airbase System is a new concept for the U.S. Air Force, and it’s the first time being tested. The “out-of-the-box” DABS kit includes facilities, equipment, and vehicles as part of the setup to support a deployable airbase. This enables the military to respond to potential contingency needs more rapidly.

When asked why Thompson wanted to attend the exercise, he said, “I immediately volunteered once I found out about what it entailed. I wanted to volunteer because this event was everything a logistics officer wants to be able to perform.”

Thompson was deployed in Afghanistan in 2014, where he was in charge of moving equipment and deactivating bases. This DABS exercise allows Thompson to utilize his logistics experience as an Installation Deployment Officer to bring the new concept to life and strengthen foreign relations.

“Filling in as commander for this exercise, it puts everything together that we talk about from a readiness standpoint. This was right in my wheel house of what I’ve dealt with previously,” said Thompson.

The DABS exercise fostered a collaborative effort for airmen from active duty, guard and reserve components to train together and provided an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate their commitment and ability to quickly and effectively respond to contingency needs.

“It just proves the fact that the guard component of the Air Force can come in anywhere and do the job as well as our active duty counterparts,” said Thompson.

As a result of Thompson’s command, the exercise team met all timeline requirements. He was coined by Brigadier General Roy Agustin, Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters USAFE-AFARICA for his leadership abilities and coalition efforts.

“It was just phenomenal how everything worked out and seeing everything come together as quickly as it did. I couldn’t be more excited about my experience,” said Thompson.