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IPE: gearing Airmen for mission success

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment journeyman, sorts through customer gear logs at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment journeyman, sorts through customer gear logs at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018. Gear entering and leaving the Chandler Deployment Processing Center is tracked to ensure it has been properly issued and will function properly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment (IPE) journeyman, searches for deployment gear at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment (IPE) journeyman, searches for deployment gear at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018. Airmen assigned to the IPE flight are tasked with maintaining more than $13 million worth of gas mask equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment (IPE) journeyman, interacts with a customer at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment (IPE) journeyman, interacts with a customer at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018. Airmen assigned to the IPE flight provide various pieces of equipment such as flak vests, gas masks and mission oriented protective posture gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment journeyman, carries mission oriented protective posture gear at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment journeyman, carries mission oriented protective posture gear at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 30, 2018. Airmen assigned to the IPE flight store and distribute equipment for the base populous. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment (IPE) journeyman, organizes various pieces of mission oriented protective posture gear at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov 30, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment (IPE) journeyman, organizes various pieces of mission oriented protective posture gear at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov 30, 2018. Airmen assigned to the IPE are tasked with inspecting, troubleshooting and distributing more than 130,000 pieces of equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Before any Airman can deploy to accomplish their mission they must first receive the necessary gear from a deployment processing center.

The team of more than 10 Airmen, responsible for ensuring their wingmen receive the protection needed downrange, are assigned to the 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment flight.

The flight maintains more than 130,000 pieces of chemical warfare defense equipment, approximately 3,000 gas masks worth $13 million and one-thousand weapons worth nearly $1 million.

By providing various pieces of equipment to include mission oriented protective posture gear, flak vests and gas masks, the Airmen help provide a sense of security.

“We provide all the necessary equipment for members of the base,” said Senior Airman Shanice Smith, 20th LRS IPE journeyman. “Whether they are deploying or participating in an exercise we make sure they are geared up to do their jobs. Along with the gear we also oversee small arm and light weight weapons such as the M-4 carbine and M-9 pistol.”

This equipment is paramount to Team Shaw members participating in exercises and deployments.

“Our main job here is to maintain and provide life-saving equipment that protects our members that are going downrange,” said Smith. “IPE works to get personnel geared up and out the door to handle the mission.”

Along with equipment distribution, the flight assists the base by organizing and cleaning all inbound and outbound equipment.

“One of IPE’s primary functions is assisting customers that are in-processing the base or gearing up for deployment, but no day is the same,” said Tech. Sgt. Tychelle Flemmings, 20th LRS IPE noncommissioned officer in charge. “We have many functions that require our attention throughout the week. Whether it’s cleaning and testing up to 50 gas masks to put on the shelf to issue to customers, or packing and processing shipments of 400 items to three different bases to fulfill shortages.”

Flemmings went on to say every day is a new day with new priorities.

By continuing to support training and deploying Airmen, the IPE team provides the peace of mind needed to accomplish the mission.