Airmen from the 114th Fighter Wing deployed to Hawaii to complete Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) at Camp Paumalu Girl Scout Camp, May 24-June 6.
“The 114th’s mission here was to gain valuable innovative readiness training while fulfilling an approved community need identified by the National Guard Bureau,” said Maj. Todd Mergen, 114th Civil Engineer Squadron project officer in charge. “This included obtaining key training within the Airmen’s specific career fields, cross-training outside of their career fields and leadership development for the NCOs and officers.”
IRT is a Department of Defense program that provides real world training opportunities for our service members and units to prepare them for wartime missions. It is exclusive to the U.S. and its territories and includes opportunities for Active, Guard, and Reserve service members to integrate as a joint and whole-of-society team.
“The end goal with this IRT program integration is to provide an important training opportunity with regards to not only the Airmen’s specific skill sets, but also work on that leadership foundation and in turn help provide the Girl Scouts with a new facility at Camp Paumalu,” said Mergen.
Camp Paumalu has a two year partnership with the Girl Scouts of Hawaii to rebuild and modernize the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based Girl Scout Camp, upgrade the surrounding camp roads and construction of living quarters.
During their portion of the construction project, members of the 114th CES had the opportunity to support the Girl Scouts of Hawaii and sharpen many different skills throughout their Air Force Specialties to include: project management, pavements and grounds, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, utilities, power production, surveying, and structural.
“Deploying outside of our home station to conduct training while being able to give back to the Girl Scouts has been an amazing experience,” said Tech. Sgt. Cody Reese, 114th CES HVAC technician. “It’s great being able to cross-train on different jobs and work with different shops and units because it provided us with some good training.”
Another key training element the 114FW experienced while on site was working with the other units and engineers to blend into the STEM project.
“Integrating into the existing team that [are] on the ground is something that we so often see when we deploy,” said Mergen. “It helps with the continuity of the project and it’s good training to help develop the right leadership and followership skills to be able to have mission effectiveness.”
Ms. Shari Chang, Girl Scouts of Hawaii CEO, 4th generation Girl Scout, applied for the IRT program knowing they could partner with a skilled labor force that would have the capabilities and expertise to make the project happen. The estimated completion date is September 2020.
“We are so thankful for the support from the military on this project,” said Chang. “The whole process is now coming to fruition and it has been an amazing opportunity for both of us.”