NCO demonstrates value of Reservists on joint task forces

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jake Chappelle
  • 446th Airlift Wing
Working on a joint task force does more than accomplish the mission. It's also a good way to demonstrate the value of the Reserve.

Take the experience of one 446th Airlift Wing Reservist who joined a joint task force earlier this year. Master Sgt. Chris Rumley, with the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal flight, volunteered to participate in a humanitarian recovery mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from Jan. 4 to March 3.

Sergeant Rumley was part of a Joint-force team of nine Army and Air Force members.

Teamwork was one reason why the mission went smoothly.

"I was the only Reservist and the senior enlisted member on the team," said Sergeant Rumley. "They respected me a lot, because I got along with them and I knew my job like the back of my hand. They treated me with the utmost respect."

Because of Sergeant Rumley's participation in the mission and EOD expertise, the 446th CES got a good name.

"The 446th CES has opened the door and paved the way for more Reserve EOD units in supporting JPAC, said Sergeant Rumley "There are already more Reserve EOD units getting tasked to JPAC missions."

The experience is one Sergeant Rumley will always remember.

"It's the highest honor that I get to perform," said Sergeant Rumley "You bring closure to families. That's what I would want if a member of my family was MIA."

The team's objective was to recover a downed, Vietnam Conflict, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom fighter, the missing pilots and any un-explored ordnance in the area.

The Joint Personnel Accountability Command sends out investigation teams to communicate with governments of countries where servicemembers are missing. They get permission to send investigation teams to interview local communities and locate the last known area where servicemembers were pronounced missing.

Once the team finds a location with a high probability of an attack, preliminary digs are conducted to find equipment, clothing and identification of servicemembers. After that, it is determined whether to send in a recovery team to conduct full scale dig operations.

"I was on a follow on recovery team," said Sergeant Rumley. "The first team was unable to complete the dig investigation, so a second team was needed to dig the site. We closed the site."

An important part of JPAC missions is that closing of a site and completing the mission objective, which resolves cold investigations.

By completing a JPAC operation, the pending investigation is put to rest. That's one bonus for the team. Another bonus is providing closure for the families who have been waiting decades to be informed of the status of their loved ones, said Sergeant Rumley.

Sergeant Rumley's role in this particular mission was to detect and recover UXOs.

"Out of the 80 pieces of ordnance we found, I found about four of them. The rest of the team found the other UXOs with the training I gave the them," said Sergeant Rumley.

Because JPAC missions vary, they provide a new challenge, opportunities to work with other military branches and to help bring closure to families, no matter how long they have been waiting.