SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
“You will not find it difficult to prove that battles, campaigns and even wars have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Whether it be during times of war or times of peace, the military relies on professional Logistic Readiness Squadrons to be the link between the multiple bases, posts and forts around the globe. The ones who keep these squadrons’ hearts beating are the excellent LRS Airmen and contract workers, and today, we would like to tell you of an outstanding Airmen from right here at the 82nd LRS.
Senior Airman Michael Lovest Bell III was awarded the Air Education and Training Command's Outstanding Logistics Readiness Airman of the Year award for 2020. Bell works right here at the 82nd LRS as a Traffic Management Operations and Cargo specialist, they work mostly behind the scenes, but their work is both diverse and important for the mission here at Sheppard
“Everybody has to move stuff around,” Bell said. “It could be anything, nuts, bolts, screws, even engines. It’s our job to make sure whoever needs it, gets it in a timely manner.”
Bell said from receiving stuff, sending supplies out, quality assurance and inspections, even loading and unloading machinery that a squadron needs, it goes through them. In November, 2019, Bell and his wingmen were sent to do all that … but in a deployed location in Saudi Arabia.
From November, 2019 to July, 2020, Bell and his fellow Airmen were stationed in Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia (PSAB). PSAB was last active in 2009 and that meant this base was a "bare base," barren and empty. LRS was needed to make sure people got the supplies they needed to revive and turn PSAB into a modern operations headquarters.
“We had to help get supplies for the fighter jets that were out there,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Graves, 82nd LRS/TMO Cargo operations supervisor. “We had to get cargo to the squadrons who were setting up their shops. We also weren’t just helping Air Force, we worked with the Marines and Army as well. Our work out there was pretty diverse.”
Graves said people know that LRS gets the cargo for them, but their customers might not know the processes and work it is to receive the cargo, unload it, inspect and then get it to the right place all in a timely manner and vice-versa for sending things out. He said being on the deployment with Bell was a whole new beast from Sheppard, but he was glad he had Bell working back-to-back with him.
“Bell is a hard working Airman,” Graves said. “From the time I met him to when I deployed with him, you just see him working, he’s never really sitting down. You can see he takes pride in his job and he does it seriously.”
The work LRS does can make or break a mission. The multiple missions each career field is individually doing could either be delayed, stopped or even sabotaged if they don’t receive the correct supplies and equipment for the job. That is why LRS needs to be full of outstanding professionals that help keep the U.S. Air Force on top.
Graves said he believes Bell could be doing most of the LRS work by himself, it’s just that easy to him. He said Bell would be a great example for his future troops and can’t wait for him to make it to Staff Sergeant.
Through Bell’s supervisors’ eyes, there was no other pick for this award, but Bell took the humble approach.
“If you got someone good teaching you, it reflects on their troops,” Bell said. “You just see what they do and add your own way and make it better.”
Whether or not Bell will shine his award and hang it above some fireplace is unknown, but Sheppard knows it has a solid LRS Airman that is an excellent follower and leader either deployed or stateside.
Bell said he hopes to inspire his LRS troops when he becomes a supervisor, until then, he’ll just be working like he always does.
Anything and everything, everybody needs something and LRS is here to help you get your mission done.