Operation Healthy Delta begins in southern Missouri and Illinois Published June 15, 2023 By Senior Airman Whitney Erhart 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Service members from across the Department of Defense are joining forces with the U.S. Public Health Service and community partners to complete Innovative Readiness Training (IRT), June 10–20, 2023. The Department of Defense military training and readiness opportunity is exclusive to the United States and its territories and focuses on addressing the needs of underserved American communities. Operation Healthy Delta will be taking place at the Bess Activity Center, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, Missouri, and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School, Anna, Illinois. “We are proud to be here to make an impact in these communities, to share our stories and experiences and we hope we are welcome back in the future to continue to serve our communities,” said U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Col. Cristina Fenwick, the officer in charge of Operation Healthy Delta. More than 250 service members are assigned to the mission, said Fenwick, who serves with the 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard. While missions focus on training, it also helps service members be involved with the public and give back to local communities, said U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. George W. Bates, 514th Air Mobility Wing, Air Force Reserve. “Our overall mission is about our readiness training,” said Bates, the administrative officer in charge for Operation Healthy Delta IRT. “Secondly, our goal is to provide services to the local community and leave them in a better situation than when we first arrived.” This is not the first year this exercise has been held in southeast Missouri and surrounding communities. “What makes this IRT special is that it’s a recurring site,” said Bates. “This community has not only seen the benefits of our work ethic, but they have also reinvested in the innovative readiness training platform.” The IRT provides the opportunity for all service members involved to complete required training and readiness skills. It also puts them in real life scenarios that are applicable to their career fields. “Dental technicians will be working with dentists, sterilizing, preparing and assisting with extractions, cleanings and x-rays,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve Master Sgt. Kevin Hyde, of the 514th, and the operation’s non-commissioned officer in charge. “Medical technicians will be working with medical providers, taking height and weight measurements and doing blood pressure checks. Everyone will be fulfilling mission goals and getting hands-on experience.” The mission will continue until June 20.