Feature   Defense News

Face of Defense: Safe and Smart

March 31, 2020 | BY AIR FORCE TECH. SGT. SHANE HUGHES

As nearly 400 members of the Ohio National Guard go to work each day packaging, transporting and distributing food and other essential items to the state's most vulnerable populations, Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Rainier is working as a logistics readiness officer and a temporary intelligence officer assigned to the 178th Wing to ensure the guardsmen are safe.

He isn't an intelligence officer by trade, but Rainier said there is some overlap between both roles. They require him to determine how to best allocate resources to complete the mission, which is the overarching mission of the task force.

An airman gathers information for a weather report while seated at a computer monitor.
Operation Steady Resolve
Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Rainier, a logistics readiness officer assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing who was called to state active duty and is serving on Joint Task Force 37 for Operation Steady Resolve, gathers weather reports for commanders at the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio, March 23, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Hughes, Ohio Air National Guard
VIRIN: 200323-Z-MJ308-1017

Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Rainier
Job Title: Logistics Readiness Officer
Unit: 178th Wing

Keeping Service Members Smart ...

As a member of Joint Task Force 37, Rainier is supporting Operation Steady Resolve as an intelligence officer.

He said his job is to gather intelligence information for the various commanders to pass onto the soldiers and airmen working at the food banks. Some of the information he gathers includes threats against the guardsmen, severe weather and road conditions that might impact food distribution routes.

Soldiers wearing blue gloves place donated items into boxes.
Donation Sort
Army Sgt. Valentino Cario of the Ohio National Guard’s 1-148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, sorts donation items at the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank in Toledo, Ohio, March 24, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Kregg York, Ohio Air National Guard
VIRIN: 200324-Z-HS920-0447
Service members wearing gloves put food into boxes.
Ohio Support
Ohio National Guard soldiers assigned to the 237th Support Battalion work with members of the Ohio Military Reserve to help pack food at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for transport and distribution, March 23, 2020. About 400 Ohio National Guardsmen are supporting 12 regional food banks across the state, ensuring Ohioans in need continue to receive food and other critical items during the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo By: Air Force Capt. Paul Stennett
VIRIN: 200323-Z-QD029-0012Y

"If you have flooding or road closures in some of the more rural parts of the state, there might only be one road in or out," Rainier said. "If civilians can't get to the food bank because of flooding, we have equipment that can ford through water and get that food where it’s needed."

... And Safe

He said he's also tracking how COVID-19 is spreading throughout the state to help guide decisions on how to best keep guardsmen healthy while performing their missions.

"This is something fairly unprecedented," Rainier said. "We've done all this before, but the difference here is the scale and the duration, and we’re just getting started."

A New Realm

Rainier has worked quickly to master his new responsibilities. 

Standing airman gestures while speaking to airmen seated at tables.
Commander Brief
Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Rainier, a logistics readiness officer assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing who was called to state active duty and is serving on Joint Task Force 37 for Operation Steady Resolve, briefs commanders at the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio, March 23, 2020. Katz is one of more than 400 members of the Ohio National Guard called to support food distribution efforts at 12 locations across Ohio, serving more than 11 million Ohioans in all 88 counties.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Hughes, Ohio Air National Guard
VIRIN: 200323-Z-MJ308-1047


"I'm getting a crash course in just a sliver of what they (intelligence officers) do every day," Rainier said. "This is a new realm for me, but we as guardsmen are flexible by nature, because we never know what the mission is going to be and it can always change at the drop of a hat."

Maj. Nick Palmer, operations officer for the task force, said: “I’ve been impressed by him since he walked in the door. He received little to no guidance and he jumped right in, briefing terrain and weather affects to the boss.”

Protecting the Community 

Rainier said it's critical for the Guard to step in and help ensure that people's basic needs are met to help keep the community safe and healthy.

"We're serving a greater purpose," Rainier said. "Everything we're doing is to try and save lives."

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Hughes is assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing.)