RAF CROUGHTON, England --
Four warehouse technicians from the 422nd Air Base Squadron at RAF Croughton have been delivering daily food shipments to RAF Fairford, driving more than eight thousand miles in three months.
“It’s an extreme feat because what they do is move materials in support of troop feeding,” said Marcia Gamos, 422nd Air Base Squadron resources management flight chief. “All the troops at RAF Fairford were contained to the base due to COVID-19, so this team really has been their food source to the outside this whole time. Without them there wouldn’t be food.”
Tim Bigelow, 422nd ABS resources warehouse supervisory technician, and three fellow drivers, has been delivering food and water to approximately 2,000 Airmen deployed at RAF Fairford, ensuring they have critical resources to continue their mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I got hired to do this job, my boss gave me one direction concerning RAF Fairford – do not fail,” said Bigelow. It takes between 18 and 20 tons of material a week in distribution. We also go through two pallets of water a week. Each pallet weighs one metric ton.”
Bigelow and his team members drive four days a week over an hour from RAF Croughton to RAF Fairford to receive goods delivered from Germany. Once a week, he travels to RAF Lakenheath to load recreation center supplies to take to RAF Fairford.
“This is not a nine to five job for these guys,” said Gamos. “They have a physically demanding job and they have to coordinate really well. They have been following the COVID rules and have been very careful to maintain the distance that they need. When everyone else is talking about how they’re bored during COVID, I can assure you that the warehouse guys are not.”
Bigelow and his team members have a wealth of knowledge between them, over 274 years’ worth of experience, according to Bigelow. All four are prior service members, who served all over the world, some in Vietnam and others during the Cold War. The youngest member is in his 50s.
RAF Fairford has recently begun renovations to rebuild in order to support larger missions on a daily basis.
“Fairford, you have to understand, is in its buildup phase,” said Bigelow. “It was a drawdown base, which went into caretaker status, and then was used for Bomber Task Force. That’s why we’re there, to support the people who are deployed for months at a time. They’re there to make Fairford a full operational base again.”
Meeting delivery demands and overcoming challenges is what this team does best. No matter the weather, or if equipment begins to fail, Bigelow and his team persevere and get the job done.
“As you might imagine, the English weather is not always in our favor,” said Bigelow. “It’s always being able to rise up to and overcome those challenges, regardless of what’s thrown at us. I had a forklift die on me in the middle of a load the other day. It doesn’t stop the mission just because I don’t have a piece of equipment. You adapt and you overcome. You have to produce each day, every day, there’s no getting away from that. I have to say I have a very dedicated set of individuals who regardless of what happens, they make it happen.”