Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

October 7, 2016 at 4:31am

Aerial Port uses X-ray vision capabilities

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Air Force Passenger Terminal representatives from around the world met at the McChord Air Field Passenger Terminal for training led by the International Air Transport Association recently at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The 15 Airmen attended the training to update their outdated X-Ray training that helps them identify prohibited and potentially hazardous items in luggage.

The 62nd Aerial Port Squadron is in the process of updating its X-ray machine web-based training program and with the help of the Air Force Expeditionary Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., it will be implemented Air Forcewide next year.

Technical Sergeant Talitha Banks, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron Passenger Terminal training manager, said it was time for Air Mobility Command’s X-ray training to be updated.

“The web-based training program we have is well over 15 years old,” Banks said.

Banks said the training is so outdated that it has a simulated bomb threat illustrated with dynamite conspicuously sticking out of a teddy bear.

“It wasn’t giving anyone the impression of the severity of the impacts of knowing what you’re doing when you’re looking at an X-ray,” Banks said. “That was the piece that we needed to fix.”

Last year, the 62nd Airlift Wing had an inspection and the 62nd APS passenger terminal failed a portion of the inspection. The inspector put a knife in a boot and it was missed because the Airman working the X-ray machine wasn’t trained properly.

“That sparked something,” Banks said. “We then reached out to bases all over the world and it was a big problem throughout AMC as well.”

With the help of Col. James Clavenna, 62nd Maintenance Group commander, the 62nd APS was able to fund the training and have an International Air Transport Association representative out in a short amount of time.

The association, who trains the Transportation Security Administration and whose goal is to “support aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency and sustainability,” came together with aerial port members from across the Air Force to learn how to better identify objects during X-ray processing.

And those key lessons are not a part of their current training, but it is being changed now to reflect more current threats.

Staff Sergeant Sabrina Spratt, 62nd APS passenger service supervisor, said the training was beyond beneficial for her.

“We spent three days training versus 30 minutes on a computer based training to learn about this,” Spratt said. “We were able to associate real-world items with hazardous items in the luggage, which better helped us identify them. The IATA representative expressed the level of importance security has on an aircraft, which gave us more of an understanding of how important it is.”

Banks and Spratt said that although they never want to imagine having to use this training real world it is not that farfetched.

“We are evolving to new threats and future threats,” Banks said. “Nobody expects anything bad to happen, but the key is to have the knowledge under our belts to prevent situations like that before they happen.”

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