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8th EAMS: CENTCOM needed it? They likely moved it

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

If a servicemember in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility receives a piece of mission-critical equipment, it’s more than likely going to arrive courtesy of Al Udeid’s 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron.

From packing to planning, 8th EAMS Airmen ensure the rapid and safe delivery of vital equipment and passengers to locations across the region.

"As a whole, our mission is to deliver jets on time, loaded with supplies ranging from food, ammo, sleeping bags, and vehicles to the warfighter on the front lines,” said Master Sgt. Julio Lopez, 8th EAMS air freight superintendent. “We touch pretty much every piece of cargo that the Department of Defense is moving into the AOR. It all comes here from places like Dover Air Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. We put the cargo on C-17s, C-5s and C-130s and ship it directly to locations across the AOR."

Staff Sgt. Corey Klucker, 8th  EAMS load planner, said balancing cargo transportation with passenger and flight safety is always the most important consideration.

“We need to make sure we have enough space to have our passengers seated properly at certain distances from the cargo and we also need to make sure we have enough baggage area for them,” he said. “We need to make sure that all the cargo and passengers can safely fit on the aircraft because the biggest point for us is safety of flight. Paying attention to where the cargo is, what kinds of hazardous materials are on there, whether or not passengers can travel with those ... all of that goes into the final product of our load plan.”

Lopez said the experience that comes with his team’s total force composition lends itself to mission success.

"We can't do it without the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard this day and age,” he said. “Not only do they bring the skills the Air Force is teaching them but we have Airmen who are police officers who bring some of that structure we learn in basic training, or who are financial advisors. The groups that we have now, we've all come together to get the mission done as one."

As 8th EAMS Airmen continue to send assets and warfighters downrange, Lopez said he hopes his team grasps the far-reaching impact of their mission.

“What they do every day counts,” said Lopez. “It's affecting people on the ground throughout the AOR but it also affects the people back home, the people we're trying to protect. I hope they understand that and [it] makes them a better person.”