Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

April 29, 2011 at 3:57am

Patriot Hook opportunity for Reservists to teach

U.S Air Force Reserve Tech. Sgt. Wayne Duckworth, 86th Aerial Port Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., secures with chains an 11-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat from U.S. Navy Special Boat Team 12 to transport in a C-17 Globemaster III at North

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MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Airlift in the Air Force serves more than mission support for other military agencies. It also provides airlift under specific circumstances for more than 17 agencies, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, local fire departments, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

To facilitate airlift for these non-DOD agencies (and some DOD agencies), seven Reservists from the 86th Aerial Port Squadron here deployed April 13-18 to North Island Naval Air Station, Calif., to provide training on how to use military airlift, from preparing cargo to correctly filling out necessary paperwork. 

Patriot Hook 2011 participants from the 86th APS were Senior Master Sgt. Patrick McMullen, Tech. Sgts. Wayne Duckworth, Mary Kelley, Tracy Sheridan, John Waight, and Joshua Warbiany, and Staff Sgt. Steve Szatkowski.

Known as Patriot Hook, this exercise is an annual Air Force Reserve Command opportunity to deploy Airlift Control Flights to establish an operational mobile command and control and joint inspection site. The goal was to assist in the deployment of affiliates to simulate forward deployment during contingency operations.

The goal for the Reservists from McChord Field was to train the affiliates so they are prepared to forward deploy when the national emergency call comes. They must have all their equipment weighed, marked, and all the required paperwork completed with little or no assistance from the military, in order to deploy using military aircraft. 

"We want to make sure that in the event of a real-life crisis for which they need to deploy, they'll be able to do it," said Sergeant Sheridan, a 12-year Air Force Reserve veteran.

The learning curve was high for many of the agencies.

"When they came through, most of their packets, if not all their packets, were not complete, so we had to go from what I call zero to sixty," said Sergeant McMullen. "Sixty is being out the door. A lot of them started off pretty much as zero."

Using a variety of airlift aircraft, such as the C-17, C-130, and KC-135, the civilian volunteers from the non-DOD agencies were taught about load planning, manifesting passengers and cargo, and took part in the actual loading of the aircraft.

At the end of the exercise, Sergeant McMullen, an employee of Regents Blue Shield, had a collection of business cards so he could get a jump on next year's exercise.

"I like to stay in touch with participants so we can talk about what they need from us and what we recommend they bring to the exercise," said the 20-year Air Force Reserve veteran. "We try to involve the users in identifying the equipment they would really need (when responding to an emergency). This is an exercise not to see what we can take off and get away with; it's an exercise to see what they need and how we can accommodate that."

And of course, an exercise in the proper completion of all that paperwork, according to Sergeant McMullen:  "If the paperwork doesn't weigh as much as the airplane, it's not ready to go yet."    

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