435th CRG: melting pot of Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hailey Haux
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
With three squadrons and 45 separate Air Force Specialty Codes dedicated to expeditionary operations, being ready to deploy within a moment's notice means the 435th Contingency Response Group has an uncommon mission in the Air Force.

Airmen from the 435th CRG play an important role as U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa's premier "forward, ready, now" force that opens expeditionary airfields and bridges the gap to air expeditionary forces.

"The CRG executes short-term, combat-ready and flexible missions, providing force protection, airborne airfield assessment, and expeditionary airfield operations and much more," said Tech. Sgt. Lindy Mehaffy, 435th Air Mobility Squadron loadmaster.

One of the core capabilities of the CRG is the ability to go to a bare-bone site and create a smooth, operating airfield for the Air Force to conduct its missions. By utilizing Airmen from the 435th Construction and Training Squadron, they can lay concrete and construct buildings while the 435th Security Forces Squadron ensures the safety of all personnel.

The three squadrons in the CRG, who are always in motion, including the air adviser branch, work together to build partnerships with countries all around the world.

"In the air adviser branch we share ideas and knowledge with our NATO Allies," said Master Sgt. Albert Black, 435th CRG air adviser branch operations NCOIC. "We just got back from Hungary doing a building partnership event. We were able to brief and discuss some of our better practices, so they can improve on their programs."

Being in a unit where you work with people from different AFSCs offers 435th CRG Airmen a chance to see the big picture Air Force.

"We get the opportunity to step out of our bubble and work with other career fields," Mehaffy said. "I have gained knowledge from my fellow Airmen and have more respect for what others do for the mission."

The knowledge they gain from each other gives them the ability to conduct missions and exchange information anywhere in the world.

"With our (building partnership) missions we can go anywhere," Black said. "Every country we visit is different, and they have diverse views. We must be constantly aware of their culture and do our homework on their customs and courtesies."

To become a "forward, ready, now" Airman with the CRG and its unique mission can be as simple as looking at the equal plus listings or talking to a supervisor.

"I used to be in a support unit as fuels," Black said. "Now I feel like I am part of the actual weapons system, and there are people out there who are supporting me and my Airmen's mission. It's a good feeling to be part of something this big."