Airmen assigned to the 89th Airlift Squadron, 316th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and 1st Helicopter Squadron, along with West Virginia Air National Guardsmen with the 167th Airlift Squadron, conducted an exercise in loading (LOADEX) on the flight line here on April 21, 2022.
Loading drills allow members of the Department of Defense to practice a variety of scenarios involving the transportation of military equipment, supplies and vehicles while noting what works and what might change to speed up loading in the future .
“When we originally planned this exercise, we wanted to see how long it would take to load a huey and the operational equipment related to our mission,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Shane Garcia, a pilot assigned to 1st HS and exercise coordinator. “We are trying to get to where we can expand beyond the National Capital Region and serve our customers all over the United States. »
The 1st HS, which flies the UH-1N Iroquois helicopter – commonly known as the 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 helped the 1st HS assess how to make its assets more mobile for rapid mobility operations while using the event to enhance the training experience for its new 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,” Tech said. sergeant. Michelle Casey, Aircraft Services NCOIC for 89th APS. “They have something particularly outsized or some kind of special loading requirements that they have to practice first because they’re not used to doing that process.”
For Casey and his 10 new Airmen assigned to the 89th APS fresh out of technical school, the LOADEX provided a unique training opportunity.
“Having such a number of airmen straight out of tech school is pretty rare at Andrews based on the mission we have here,” Casey said.
Overseeing one of the Air Force’s busiest ports, the 89th APS provides nonstop airlift support for the President, Vice President, cabinet members, combatant commanders and other senior military and elected leaders for Special Air Mission (SAM) operations. Additionally, they provide guided land operations for a variety of high profile events such as foreign DV visits or unique tasks like moving ANG personnel around the NCR and processing thousands of pounds of airlifted COVID supplies. in the United States by foreign allies during the pandemic.
“Andrews’ port works differently than your usual port. It’s easier for airmen to fit in here if they already have experience of normal port operations, so our staffing requirements didn’t allow for new airmen until recently,” she said.
Dawgs most recent port of arrival marks the first time in three years that Airmen have come directly to the 89th APS after technical training. The influx of new airmen meant the squadron had to revitalize and update its Port Dawg University (PDU) training program over the past few months.
PDU is an Air Force-wide concept tailored to a specific location or base port operations to help new Airmen undergo training in their required essential duties that helps them complete their course of career development and training requirements at five levels faster and more thoroughly.
The 89th APS version of PDU is an eight-week program divided into two weeks. Airmen learn about each section that would normally be available to a regular airport squadron.
“Fortunately this week they learned about the tie-down requirements and restraints, so it worked out pretty well for them because they got to see first-hand some of the things they were learning,” he said. she stated. “My two load team leaders there supporting the LOADEX were all in Bagram last year, so they’re used to loading helicopters, but the younger, newer airmen with them never got the hang of it. ‘experience of seeing something oversized like a helicopter being loaded until now…they usually wouldn’t be here on Andrews which is why it was such a great experience for them’,
The APS load team leaders participating in the scenario showed the Port Dawgs in formation around the C-17 at the end of the exercise – familiarizing them with the locations of the various onboard hooks, cables and chains used to secure equipment, noting when they should and should not be used.
Port Commander Dawgs hailed the LOADEX as a success on two fronts: partnerships and technical competence.
“Exercising our proficiency and readiness with our National Guard installation and mission partners is critical to being ready when it’s time to go,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Melissa Thurman, commanding officer of the 89th APS. “The icing on the cake is that this opportunity came as we have 10 pipeline port dawgs in PDU – giving them important hands-on training they might not otherwise have received.”
|Date posted:||13.05.2022 19:55|
|Location:||JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD, USA|
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