One force, one fight

BOISE,Idaho- -- Every branch of the military has their own way of doing things, including the Guard and Reserve. Working with new people and learning their ways can be challenging, but Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field are overcoming the trials through teamwork.

While Mountain Home AFB reconstructs their runway, Gowen has opened their air field and shops without hesitation. With an additional 800 members working out of Gowen many of the shops have built a strong partnership with their guard counterparts.

"I think it's important to see how each side works," Tech. Sgt. Scott Douglass, repair and reclamation section chief with the 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron said. "There's different aspects from the Guard versus active duty."

Douglass, along with the rest of the crash recovery shop has been working closely with the Guards' phase shop, as well as learning how to respond to crashes and in flight and ground emergencies for the A-10 Thunderbolts II - Gowens' native aircraft.

Although learning the right way to respond to emergencies for a new aircraft may sound difficult, Douglass said differently.

"The biggest thing for us is dealing with the civilian operations for airfield management, that's something we don't have to deal with," he said.

Working with the Boise airport is something Gowen has grown accustomed to which allows them to teach MHAFB members a thing or two, making the transition fairly seamless for everyone involved.

While some shops are in the beginning stages of their newfound partnership, others have been set in stone for many years.

"Ever since I've been here - 2008 - we've always had a good standing going back and forth," Tech. Sgt.  Jeremy Green, assistant NCO in charge of non-destructive inspections with the 366th EMS said. "We have a good relationship with their shop."

In the past few weeks both sides of NDI have enlightened one another -- an active duty tit for a National Guard tat.

Green and his team have demonstrated shooting x-rays of the aircraft, something Gowen does less often.

"On our air frame we do almost no x-rays," said Tech. Sgt. Shane Peacock, 124th Maintenance Squadron NDI lab supervisor at Gowen. "So being able to actually get the hands-on experience with these guys and their experience was really good for our shop."

As for the Guard, they've taught our guys how to hand develop film.

"I haven't done that since tech school," Green said. "Some of my guys had never [done] it at all, so now if we deploy downrange I can say, 'I've done that, I know how to do that,' I learned that from these guys."

The NDI shops have also worked together on surveys and personal evaluations.

Peacock explained having an outside set of eyes has been good for his shop. As for Green, he believes getting his troops out of their comfort zones and having them work within another shop will help them develop into better airmen.

While many people may not realize the importance of the Guard, the Gunfighters support the critical role they play in our Air Force.

"I know as an active duty person you hear like 'Oh, the Guard guys are coming?' You have a particular mindset but that's not what it's all about," Green said.

"In the end we're all one big Air Force," Douglass stated. "We're all going to go downrange; we need to know how each other operate."

Lt. Col. John Jacobus, 366th Maintenance Group deputy group commander, believes when the two wings work together it hails benefits for both.

"The Guard is hand-in-hand with the active duty," he said, "So on both sides it's making each service stronger; each component of the Air Force stronger in the long run."

Aside from the partnership, Gowen showed the Gunfighters outstanding hospitality that they can only hope to repay one day.

"It's almost like being home away from home," said Jacobus. "The Gowen folks have opened up their hangars and their shop doors and really bent over backwards to make sure that we have everything we need to fly and continue our mission as we get through this runway closure."