News: Joint Base MDL staff sergeant supports aerial port ops for Operation Tomodachi
Story by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - Deployed from the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Staff Sgt. Christopher Wilkinson is deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, to support aerial port operations for Operation Tomodachi.
Wilkinson is among dozens of airmen who deployed to Japan from the 621st CRW of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., in March. According to 621st CRW Public Affairs, the 621st airmen were broken into two main teams that "will provide key support to the Japanese government for both current and future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions." Wilkinson is on one of those teams working at Misawa AB.
As an air transportation craftsman, or aerial porter, Wilkinson is doing exactly what he's been trained to do at any location throughout the world, according to his official Air Force job description. For example, each air transportation airman in the Air Force has to maintain a myriad of skills and job knowledge.
According to the official job description for the air transportation career field, airmen like Wilkinson must maintain mandatory job knowledge in passenger and cargo movement functions to include transport aircraft types, capabilities, and configuration. They must also know weight and balance factors, airlift transportation directives and documentation, cargo securing techniques, border clearance requirements, operation of materials handling and other types of loading equipment or devices, fleet service functions.
In directing air transportation activities, aerial porters like Wilkinson supplement policies and direct supervisory personnel to provide cargo and passenger loading and unloading services. He is trained to establish procedures for passenger and aircraft clearance through international border clearance agencies and to inspect airlift activities for compliance with directives, the job description states.
Aerial porters like Wilkinson can also check in passengers as well as process, schedule, transport and escort passengers to and from aircraft. They determine quantity and type of cargo to be loaded according to allowable aircraft cabin load and they check cargo against manifests, and annotate overage, shortage or damage.
Wilkinson is also trained to verify eligibility of cargo and mail offered for airlift and to review passenger travel authorizations for validity and accuracy. He also ensures all cargo documentation, packaging, labeling and marking requirements, and all border clearance requirements have been met. He provides information on schedules, routes, air movement requirements, baggage limitations and local facilities for passengers and requisitions, stores and issues expendable and nonexpendable items for use on aircraft.
Wilkinson and his fellow deployed aerial porters also ensure the safe and efficient upload and download of cargo and personnel on all organic and contracted aircraft to the base. To do the heavy lifting, they use specific material handling equipment such as forklifts capable of lifting upwards of 10,000 pounds of cargo and aircraft cargo loaders which are capable of holding pallets and cargo weighing up to 25,000 and 60,000 pounds. The loaders, when filled with cargo, are driven out to the aircraft, the deck is raised hydraulically, and powered rollers on the loader push the cargo on board the plane.
The 621st CRW, which is part of Air Mobility Command, "is always on alert to deploy in support of contingency operations worldwide," according to their wing's website. They also have airmen currently supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan people. During Operation Unified Response earthquake relief operations in Haiti in 2010, CRW airmen helped off-load more than 15,000 tons of cargo, and aided in the voluntary evacuation of more than 15,000 men, women and children from the country.
This work, Joint Base MDL staff sergeant supports aerial port ops for Operation Tomodachi, by MSgt Scott Sturkol, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.