Learn as much as you can

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Xavier Lockley
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Located in the countryside of eastern Georgia lies the city of Waynesboro, a suburb just south of Augusta. This was the work site for more than 160 reserve service members from the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Air National Guard who participated in an Innovative Readiness Training project June 8th through June 20th.

While in Georgia, the group operated in four locations and in cooperation with the Central Savannah Regional Services Commission, reserve and active duty service members provided medical, eye care, dental care, and veterinary services. Local residents of Waynesboro and surrounding areas received health care at no-cost.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Iris Morales, 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron commander support staff officer in-charge, was the lone representative from the 927th Air Refueling Wing who participated in the IRT.

“As the only wing representative, I took it upon myself to absorb as much of the information in terms of processes, logistics and collaboration opportunities as possible,” said Morales. “A big goal for me was to learn a lot so I can bring that back to our wing and not only encourage others to participate but also ideally to help the wing in executing some of our home-grown exercises.”

IRT training missions provide opportunities for military medical, engineering and support personnel to receive training while making an impact in local communities throughout the United States.

“In 12 days, we delivered over $770k worth of medical care to approximately 1,500 patients,” Morales said. “Seeing the impact we made, made the entire experience worth it in the end.”

Senior Master Sgt. James Finley, 927th ASTS functional manager, served as the Air Force IRT Medical Program Manager during the two weeks of training. He saw Morales interact with members of the other services and witnessed how she displayed different elements of leadership.

“Captain Morales’ attention to detail showed in her ability to lead and direct a group of service members she’s never met before and have them singularly focused on the task of caring for the local community in Georgia,” said Finley. “Unlike the rapport and trust a doctor is able to develop with a patient over a long period of time, the staff on an IRT has to develop over a matter of hours and sometimes minutes and Capt Morales performed as if she’d been a member of the community of her whole life.”

Morales isn’t sure when the next time the IRT will happen but one thing is certain, she wants to attend whenever that time comes.

“After 12 years in the military this was my first IRT but definitely not the last,” Morales said. “It was a memorable experienced and lauded by both community leaders and the beautiful people of Georgia.”