Keeping Fairchild’s mission loaded
By Airman 1st Class Whitney Laine, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2018
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Team Fairchild doesn’t just enable Rapid Global Mobility through in-flight refueling, they are also highly trained in aeromedical evacuation, and cargo and passenger transport. Continuous cargo-load training keeps Fairchild boom operators stay mission ready through routine cargo-load training on the KC-135 Stratotanker.
While other agencies load and transport cargo regularly, cargo-load training is crucial for boom operators to safely load and secure cargo effectively when a KC-135 is tasked for a transport mission in addition to its primary in-flight refueling role.
“The training is designed to keep Airmen skillful with the process to execute proper procedures when tasked,” said Master Sgt. Brendan Balko, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron operations supervisor.
From the moment boom operators receive a cargo request, numerous Fairchild agencies contribute more than 30 hours to support duty completion. Each fundamental task is practiced within each unit throughout the duration of training until the load is successfully secured and ready for movement.
“Boom operators pass the request to logistic plans for vehicle operations for transport, and -21 Sortie Supply to gather necessary equipment and configuration of the aircraft,” said Ricky Brown, 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron D flight commander and transportation officer. “The personal property office completes the paperwork to ensure tracking; the cargo is then delivered to air terminal Airmen for inspection, weighing and loading onto the aircraft.”
Airmen gain a new perspective through cargo load training, improving each unit’s understanding of the processes and protocols while working as one cohesive team.
“The training has improved the communication between sortie support and aircrews,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Burton, 92nd Maintenance Group -21 Sortie Support non-commissioned officer in charge. “We have developed a fluid process of direct communication in each phase to avoid playing games of ‘telephone.’ This has allowed my unit to know what aircraft, equipment and configuration is needed in advance to be prepare for shipment.”
The training gives Airmen an opportunity to see their part in the logistical machine that governs mission success in receiving, transporting and delivering cargo to and from the base, said Burton.
Mobility Airmen work side-by-side with joint and international partner agencies. Whether it’s delivering humanitarian aid to U.S. and partner country citizens in need, or transporting coalition forces to dirt strips in remote locations, they get the job done together.
“Whether it is cargo or fuel, each agency is supporting the mission; without maintenance we can’t fly our jets if they break, without the small air terminal, we wouldn’t be able to load the cargo and without legal, our legal affairs would not be in order, all impacting our mission downrange,” Burton said.