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    JBA LOADEX allows unique training event for President’s Port

    JBA LOADEX allows unique training event for President’s Port

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Kentavist Brackin | Airmen assigned to the 89th Aerial Port Squadron, 316th Logistics Readiness Squadron...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Kentavist Brackin 

    89th Airlift Wing

    Airmen assigned to the 89th Aerial Port Squadron, 316th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and 1st Helicopter Squadron, as well as West Virginia Air National Guardsmen with 167th Airlift Squadron, conducted a loading exercise (LOADEX) on the flightline here April 21, 2022.

    Loading exercises allow Department of Defense members to practice a variety of scenarios involving the transportation of military equipment, supplies and vehicles while noting what works and what could change to make the loading quicker in the future.

    “When we initially planned this exercise, we wanted to see how long it would take to load a huey and the operations equipment related to our mission,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Shane Garcia, a pilot assigned to 1st HS and coordinator for the exercise. “We are trying to make it to where we can expand beyond the National Capital Region and service our customers anywhere in the United States.”

    The 1st HS, which flies the UH-1N Iroquois helicopter - commonly referred to as Huey, provides local airlift for senior military and civilian leaders, high-ranking dignitaries and distinguished visitors as well as emergency medical evacuation in the National Capital Region (NCR).

    Joint Base Andrews' (JBA) port dawgs assisted 1st HS in assessing how to make its assets more mobile for rapid mobility operations while using the event to enhance the training experience of its newest Airmen.

    “Usually when you do this kind of exercise with a unit it's because [the unit members] have never done it before and they need to practice,” said Tech. Sgt. Michelle Casey, NCOIC of Aircraft Services for 89th APS. “They have something particularly outsized or some type of special loading requirements they need to practice first since they’re not used to doing that process.”

    For Casey and her 10 new Airmen assigned to 89th APS fresh out of tech school, the LOADEX provided a unique training opportunity.

    “Having that amount of Airmen straight out of tech school is sort of uncommon at Andrews based on the mission set we have here,” Casey said.

    Overseeing one of the busiest ports in the Air Force, the 89th APS provides non-stop air transportation support for the president, vice president, cabinet members, combatant commanders and other senior military and elected leaders for Special Air Mission (SAM) operations. In addition, they provide guided ground operations for a variety of high-profile events such as foreign DV visits, or unique taskings like the movement of ANG personnel into the NCR and processing thousands of pounds in COVID supplies flown into the U.S. by foreign allies during the pandemic.

    “Andrews’ port operates differently from your typical port. It's easier for Airmen to adapt here if they already have experience with normal port operations so our manning requirement didn’t allow for new Airmen until recently,” she said.

    The most recent inbound port dawgs marks the first time in three years Airmen have come directly to the 89th APS following technical training. The influx of new Airmen meant the squadron needed to revitalize and update their Port Dawg University (PDU) Training Program in recent months.

    PDU is an Air Force-wide concept tailored to a specific location or base’s port operations to help new Airmen with training in their required core tasks that assists them in completing their career development course and five-level training requirements faster and more thoroughly.

    The 89th APS’ version of PDU is an eight-week program split into two weeks increments. Airmen learn about each section that would normally be available at a regular aerial port squadron.

    “Gratefully, this week they were learning about tie-down requirements and restraints so it worked out pretty well for them because they had a chance to see first-hand some of the things they were learning about,” she said. “My two load team chiefs out there supporting the LOADEX were all in Bagram last year so they’re used to the helicopter loading, but the younger, newer Airmen with them have never gotten the experience to see something outsized like a helicopter being loaded until now…they typically wouldn’t here on Andrews, which is why this was such a great experience for them,”

    The APS loadteam chiefs participating in the scenario showed the Port Dawgs-in-training around the C-17 at the conclusion of the exercise - familiarizing them with locations of the various hooks, cables and chains onboard used to secure equipment, noting when they should and should not be used.

    The port dawgs commander lauded the LOADEX as successful on two fronts - partnerships and technical proficiency.

    “Exercising our proficiency and readiness with both our installation and National Guard mission partners is key to being ready when it's’ go time,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Melissa Thurman, 89th APS commander. “The icing on the cake is that this opportunity presented itself while we have 10 pipeline port dawgs in PDU - giving them important hands-on training they may not have otherwise received.”



    Date Taken: 04.21.2022
    Date Posted: 05.13.2022 19:55
    Story ID: 420718

    Web Views: 110
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