1,700 Air Force reservists spend weekend at Keesler - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

1,700 Air Force reservists spend weekend at Keesler

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

This weekend more than 1,700 Air Force reservists with the 403rd Wing Command came from 38 different states to Keesler Air Force Base as part of their Unit Training Assembly, held just one weekend a month. 

This massive training is required to refamiliarize the reservists with their jobs.

It's Unit Training Assembly or UTA for the 403rd Wing Command. The weekend long, intense training session is the largest on base.  

"In the wing, there's three groups and 14 squadrons, 14 units in a variety of different career fields from maintenance, operations to mission support and medical they come here to train to support the airlift mission and the weather reconnaissance mission," said Major Marney Losurdo.

"The UTA's are very important to train our reservists because when we have to go to the desert and do our mission these guys have to be up to speed and so we jam the weekends with a lot of training associated with aircraft and getting the mission done," said Officer Stuart Martin.

Over at the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Air reserve technicians train reservists on making sure plane engines and propellers work properly.  

"We got some guys working the anti-ice leads and what that does exactly is keeps the propellers from freezing when they get up in the flight, there's heat that goes through the front of the propellers the leading edge and it ensures that we don't have an ice buildup," said Officer Martin.  

At the 41st Aerial Port Squadron cargo training happens outside. Reservists use special netting to secure thousands of pounds of cargo on pallets then they place it all onto a loader.  

"If this was real world it could be weapons, food, ammunition, all sorts of hazardous cargo, water it could be supplies to troops overseas you name it," said Master Sgt. Boyd Huff.  

This training happens usually on the first weekend of every month; 12 times a year and reservists are also required to attend an annual training session, which is two weeks long. Training usually begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.  

All the reservists need a place to stay each month that's why officials say $50,000 to $70,000 is spent each month on coast hotels and motels near the Air Force base.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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