SOUTHWEST ASIA --
As sweat pours down every inch of the bodies working fearlessly to make the mission go, the heat is a simple reminder of where they are and how important their job is to delivering decisive air power to this area of responsibility.
No, they’re not mechanics. They call themselves “Port Dawgs” and are known to other units on the flight line by this name. Their job is to inspect, stage, and move thousands of pounds of cargo and people throughout the AOR.
“The cargo in an average week is about 1,500 short tons,” said Capt. Michael Adams, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron aerial port flight commander. “In a week’s time we also move about 500 to 600 personnel throughout the AOR.”
The 386 ELRS aerial port flight is home to the busiest aerial port in Southwest Asia. This is something that the members take seriously. They’re proud to be Port Dawgs.
“On average we started out at 4,800 short tons a month,” said Adams. “Due to operations up north we peaked at 7,400 short tons of cargo for the month and 8,000 passengers.”
Without this unit’s effective mission set, cargo would not get where it needs to go and personnel would not have the tools and resources needed to continue the fight and complete their missions.
“It’s very humbling, because without us you aren’t moving,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Parrish, 386 ELRS cargo processer. “We take great pride in that.”
The mission of the aerial port flight breaks up into several sections, no one more important than the other.
It starts with special handling; these Airmen handle joint inspections and are the first step to receiving cargo into the aerial port. If it doesn’t pass their inspection, it’s not brought into the port.
From there, it’s a collaborative effort to build a plan and get the cargo onto the aircraft. The load planning, passenger terminal, cargo, and ramp sections work together to get the cargo where it needs to go while the passenger terminal has oversight on how many people are on the aircraft.
After they have done their part, it’s up to the nerve center of the operation, the air terminal operations center to communicate with the rest of the team and notify them when a mission is going to happen.
Each section has their own unique requirements, and they work hand-in-hand with other members of their Port Dawg family to get the job done.
“We pretty much work together every day,” said Senior Airman Bradley Hyatt, 386 ELRS ramp service specialist. “Whether it’s coordinating with special handling who does all of the joint inspections, load planning to see what needs to go out, or cargo if cargo needs to be palletized, we’ve built a great relationship. “
No matter if it’s going onto an aircraft or moving cargo around the yard, the amount of cargo and personnel moved by this flight is unprecedented. Working together, these logisticians make it happen and do their part in achieving an Air Force Central Command priority in delivering decisive air power through logistics support.
“Knowing that I am contributing a huge part in making sure everyone has what they need gives me the sense of what I’m doing really does matter,” said Parrish. “That’s why we’re here, to get everybody else what they need and ensure they can stay in the fight.”