NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound sailors train with Air Force cargo handlers

By Brian Davis, NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound on June 1, 2022

TACOMA - Sailors from Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Puget Sound (NAVSUP FLCPS) completed an Air Transportation Specialist training course with the U.S. Air Force at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). The sailors, who graduated April 22, are the first active duty sailors to complete the course, and the first sailors from NAVSUP FLCPS to receive the training.

The sailors who attended the one-week course were Logistics Specialist Submarines 2nd Class Dustin House from Chandler, Texas, and Logistics Specialist Submarines Seaman Oscar Lozano from Brownsville, Texas. As Logistics Specialists, they can use the Air Cargo Handling skill set to assist with shipment of critical parts and supplies to operational units, or supporting contingency or disaster response efforts.

"We are here to support wherever we are needed ... to assist with handling cargo shipping for NAVSUP, and to help expedite parts" said House.

The Air Transportation Specialist course, offered by the Air Force 62nd Aerial Port Squadron (APS), teaches students basic skills and standard procedures for handling air cargo.

"Our focus is on air freight," said John Draper, Program Manager for the 62nd APS. "We teach them skills such as building air pallets, loading and unloading planes, standardized procedures and processing, and the use of GATES, the Global Air Transportation Execution System for tracking cargo and passengers," he said.

GATES was developed by the Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC), but is also used by the Navy in Sigonella, Bahrain, Rota, Norfolk, and Iwakuni.

According to Draper, the course is a precursor to formal training for the Navy Air Cargo Handler NEC school. For a Navy Logistics Specialist, the Air Cargo Handler qualification is an unusual qualification.

"We have been training Navy Reserve personnel in this course for about 14 years, but these are our first active duty sailors and they are the first ones we've had from NAVSUP FLCPS", said Draper.

The course involved classroom work and a number of hands-on evolutions. Training Specialist Robert Izzett put students through a challenging series of exercises operating 4,000 lb. and 10,000 lb. forklifts. In one training module, the students had to pick up a pallet with a forklift and maneuver through an obstacle course of traffic cones placed so that there was barely enough clearance for the forklift and its load. Once through the obstacle course, they had to place the load properly on the air pallet as another student acted as a guide. The students ran through the obstacle course both forward and in reverse.

According to Izzett, the coursework also covers safe forklift operation, emphasizing thorough pre-checks, proper fork placement, parking/chocks, and situational awareness.

Students also learn flight line safety and operating procedures, and observe cargo aircraft loading and offloading evolutions.

62nd APS at Joint Base Lewis-McChord serves as the primary port for passenger and cargo shipments in the Pacific Northwest region and supports U.S. Transportation Command/Air Mobility Command missions for major exercises and deployments spanning the globe. Learn more at