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New Jersey Air National Guard troops serve, supply

By Senior Airman C. Todd Lopez

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (Oct. 05, 2001) -- New Jersey Air National Guard members deployed here for a two-week rotation to provide valuable support to the 39th Supply Squadron and in turn aid the Operation Northern Watch mission.

"We are here to assist the 39th with the different functions within the supply squadron," said New Jersey Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Joseph Salanitro, 108th Supply Squadron, McGuire Air Force Base, NJ.

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As a civilian, Salanitro works as a corrections officer for the state of New Jersey.

"We keep the bad guys off the streets. I work in the department where the real bad boys are in 24-hour lockup, where escorts are done by two officers and cuffs," said Salanitro

At ONW, Salanitro fills parts requests in the storage area of the 39th Combat Operations Support Flight supply warehouse.

Guard members are not new to the flight. In fact, they are a regular addition to the unit.

"They are here in direct support of ONW, and they are a vital component to what we do here at the 39th Supply Squadron," said 1st Lt. Ryan Bakazan, 39th Supply Squadron Combat Operations Support Flight Commander.

The flight commander believes the ability to integrate individuals from other military units into his flight is important to his unit and to the Air Force. The smooth integration of multiple Air Force units locally shows what will be done Air Force-wide.

"The president has instituted a call-up of not only Air National Guard members but also Air Force Reserve members. Here we demonstrate we are able to harmoniously blend the ANG people with the permanent party people along with the AEF augmentees. What we are able to do here is indicative of what the Air Force is able to do Air Force-wide by utilizing the total force concept," said Bakazan.

Guard members also feel they are well integrated into the active force.

"I have been to Spain, Italy and here. Sometimes, you do catch some active duty that are unhappy when the Air National Guard shows up," said Salanitro. "But our supervisor here is very supportive of us and receptive to us. In turn, we give him 100 percent."

Giving 100 percent is not unusual for the Guard members, especially when they understand the importance of their job.

"I am essential to some of those planes that cannot get off the ground. I am the beginning part of that cycle," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Barnes, 108th Supply Squadron.

Barnes works at the start of the supply chain where military supply meets the civilian contract shippers.

"Right now I work in the receiving element," said Barnes. "We receive packages from the outside vendors and prepare them to go wherever they need to go. It could be anything from plane parts to hazardous materials. It will either go into supply or to whomever needs the part."

"And we each contribute in a sense, by putting in our little part," said Senior Airman Jose Mencia, 108th Supply Squadron. "This is a team effort from the pilots to the warehouse support to the guys in the shops needed to keep the planes flying. We just feel that if we can contribute whatever we can here, we are contributing to the mission."

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