551st moves goods to Al Asad Airfield

207th Public Affairs Detachment
Courtesy Story

Date: 12.01.2005
Posted: 12.01.2005 07:08
News ID: 3917

Sgt. Jason Mikeworth<br /> 207th MPAD<br /> <br /> <br /> Successfully running an airfield Arrival Departure and Control Group (A/DACG) is vital to getting supplies and equipment to troops that need them on the battlefield. <br /> <br /> "Our main mission in garrison or here is to move cargo," said 1st Lt. Allison Mason, the commander for the 551st Cargo Transfer Company Detachment which operates the A/DACG at Camp Al Asad. "We're responsible for all Army cargo that leaves Al Asad or arrives at Al Asad via air."<br /> <br /> When cargo arrives at Al Asad, it's up to the 551st to make sure it gets to the intended unit.<br /> <br /> "When cargo comes in, we ID it and facilitate the customer unit coming up to pick it up," Mason said. <br /> <br /> Tracking where the cargo is at all times is an important aspect of the job, and one that the 551st has steadily improved since arriving in theater in September.<br /> <br /> "We've implemented six new computer database systems to help track cargo since we've been here," said Sgt. Adam Elkins, the A/DACG NCOIC. "Since we've implemented the new systems, it's enabled us to better serve our customer units."<br /> <br /> Mason said the new tracking software has greatly increased the efficiency of the A/DACG by eliminating the need to rely on their Air Force companions or an Army movement control team. <br /> <br /> "We've cut out the middle-man," Mason said. "We're a lot more self-sustaining now."<br /> <br /> One of the biggest challenges for the 551st has been running a 24 hour operation with a minimum amount of personnel. <br /> <br /> "We have to keep the [team] motivated," Ekins said. "We have to keep them trained on their mission and train them to do my mission, too. This stuff has to get out in a timely manner. It could be medical supplies or other things that are needed on the battlefield."<br /> <br /> Spc. Eddie Ramos, a heavy equipment operator with the 551st who is on his third tour in Iraq, said the work can be exciting sometimes. <br /> <br /> "You push yourself to get it done," Ramos said. "You feel pretty good about yourself, you feel important because you're helping the whole post."<br /> <br /> Ramos also said that working along side the Air Force and Marines has been a good experience. <br /> <br /> "It's amazing how the branches work together," Ramos said. <br /> <br /> Elkins echoed that sentiment. <br /> <br /> "Working with the Air Force, this is their bread and butter," Elkins said. "It's like working with the masters of the trade."<br /> <br /> Mason said the relationship with the Marines has been equally good. <br /> <br /> "They treat us like family. They treat us just as well as they treat their own," Mason said. "They've done everything we could ask to make our job smoother."<br /> <br /> Another aspect of the 551st's mission is heavy material handling support for Camp Al Asad and the surrounding area. <br /> <br /> "I've got to do a lot that others didn't get to do," said Pfc. Fierran Watts, a cargo specialist with the 551st. "I got to sight-see a little when I went with the Marines to Camp Korean Village."<br /> <br /> Watts said his job can be demanding, comparing it to creating a work of art. <br /> <br /> "You try to paint a perfect picture, and maybe it's not, but you try to make it real sweet and move forward," Watts said. <br /> <br /> Elkins said he's very impressed with the performance of his team and their flexibility with an unpredictable day-to-day work load. <br /> <br /> "I can't say enough about them. They make it happen, the work can't be done without them," Elkins said. "They've made me shine. Most definitely, I'm very proud of them."<br />