62nd Aerial Port airmen enable robust mission

By Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on March 25, 2016

"When the Air Force needs a squadron to do humanitarian relief in the Pacific theatre or even within the United States, they get this port to do it. That's how big of a deal this Eagle Port is," said Master Sgt. Robert Peaden.

Master Sgt. Robert Peaden, the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron First Sergeant, takes pride in the unit he serves with and has nothing but gratitude for the men and women who "are the Port."

"There's a lot of weight put on the shoulders of these airmen," he said. "They do so much more than load people and cargo to send across the world."

Peaden's knowledge of what the 62nd APS does stems from a personal connection to his time as a firefighter.

"The APS loaded firefighters and supplies to Wyoming to combat wildfires in Yellowstone National Park," he said.

As a former firefighter, Peaden knows just how vital having a reliable transportation and knowledgeable aerial port staff is to ensuring the trusted, responsive and safe global airlift.

The history of the 62nd APS began long before the C-17 Globemaster made an appearance in our McChord Field fleet in 1995.

In fact, the 62nd APS, formerly known as the 62nd Air Terminal Squadron, supported the scientific stations in the Arctic Ocean by airdropping supplies on drifting ice in 1962. Fast forward to 2016 and the 62nd APS is still supporting a similar mission called Operation Deep Freeze, albeit not on drifting ice anymore.

The unit moves all the supplies the 3,000 plus personnel need and require to survive and complete their research in the Arctic.

The 62nd APS is also currently providing support to the 610th Engineer Support Company missions going to Texas for border patrol support.

Their unique mission set and the airmen - civilian, active-duty and Reserve combined have hundreds of years experience. Perhaps it's their Port Dawg mentality that keeps them unified and successful.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Fleishman and self-proclaimed Port Dawg, has spent more than 17 years at the port as an active-duty airman and now a civilian.

In his current role as the 62nd APS combat readiness center resources flight chief, Fleishman said everybody in the unit has a Port Dawg mentality with a can-do attitude.

"The deployment tempo is high and usually there are at least twenty-five people deployed in our unit," said Fleishman. "We stay busy supporting the air drop missions, joint related missions, Federal Emergency Management Agency missions and much more."

Fleishman said there is a lot of coordination, restrictions and effort that goes into providing airlift.

When it comes to delivering air transportation, the 62nd APS has been leading the way for more than six decades and will continue to do so.