News: Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airman supports deployed airlift ops as C-17 loadmaster in Southwest Asia
Story by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Airman Christina Gillespie is a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster deployed with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia.
Gillespie is a loadmaster with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and is deployed from Air Mobility Command's 10th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Her hometown is Paola, Kan. As a member of the 816th EAS, she supports airlift operations for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
According to her official Air Force job description for the 1A2X1 career field, loadmasters like Gillespie accomplish loading and off-loading aircraft functions and perform pre-flight and post-flight of aircraft and aircraft systems. They also perform loadmaster aircrew functions, compute weight and balance and other mission specific qualification duties, and provide for safety and comfort of passengers and troops, and security of cargo, mail and baggage during flight.
Loadmasters like Gillespie are skilled in a variety of abilities, the job description states. For example, in determining quantity of cargo and passengers or troops to be loaded and proper placement in aircraft, loadmasters compute load and cargo distribution. They also compute weight and balance, and determines the amount of weight to be placed in each compartment or at each station. To do this they consider factors such as fuel load, aircraft structural limits and emergency equipment required.
C-17 loadmasters also accomplish the initial pre-flight of aircraft according to flight manuals. They pre-flight specific aircraft systems such as restraint rail and airdrop equipment. They also pre-flight aerospace ground equipment and apply external power to the aircraft. Additionally, they perform in-flight and special mission specific duties as required.
When supervising aircraft loading and off-loading, loadmasters like Gillespie ensure cargo and passengers are loaded according to load distribution plan. They direct application of restraint devices such as restraint rails, straps, chains and nets to prevent shifting during flight. They also check cargo, passengers and troops against manifests, ensure availability of fleet service equipment and brief passengers and troops on use of seat belts, facilities and border clearance requirements.
In the deployed environment, loadmasters like Gillespie are trained to conduct cargo and personnel airdrops according to directives. They are trained to attach extraction parachutes to cargo and platforms and inspect cargo and platforms, extraction systems and connects static lines. They also check tie-downs, parachutes, containers, suspension systems and extraction systems to ensure proper cargo extraction or release.
To do their job while deployed or at home station, loadmasters have to maintain a wide array of mandatory job knowledge, the job description states. They must know the types, capacities and configuration of transport aircraft, emergency equipment and in-flight emergency procedures, personal equipment and oxygen use, communications, current flying directives, interpreting diagrams, loading charts and technical publications, border agency clearance dispensing and preserving food aboard aircraft, and cargo restraint techniques.
This work, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airman supports deployed airlift ops as C-17 loadmaster in Southwest Asia, by MSgt Scott Sturkol, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.