22nd AF units team up to move personnel, cargo during GRIP IV Wheelhouse training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nathan Byrnes
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 41st Aerial Port Squadron here participated in a training event called GRIP IV Wheelhouse March 4, 2018, with the goal of providing Reserve Citizen Airmen hands-on experience in a simulated real-world scenario.

This particular training was an engine-running operation where a C-130H Hercules aircraft from the 357th Airlift Squadron, 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, landed, dropped its ramp and put the engine in idle or reverse while cargo was being loaded onto the aircraft. One particular cargo item that needed to be loaded for this event was a pickup truck.

“The exercise started with the cargo coming in and being checked in through the Global Transportation Execution System,” said Staff Sgt. Bret Christofferson, 41st APS air transportation craftsman. “That information was then sent to the ramp section, who then delivered the cargo to the aircraft and helped load and secure the cargo.”

The aerial port squadron is made up of several work centers, including passenger service, fleet service, ramp (the air terminal operations center), load planning, data records, cape forecasting, aerial delivery and cargo processing. They are responsible for getting all the air cargo and passengers to the aircraft.

“Everything that has to do with air and movement of cargo and materials, we move it all,” said Christofferson. “This was just simulated like it would be down range, where we are rolling with the punches and shifting on the fly to get personnel to move the cargo. As an aerial port, everyone is trained to do every function even though we have several different sections.”

Training like this provides a controlled learning environment and also gives traditional reservists experience in situations they might encounter in a real-world environment, said Christofferson.

“This training is very beneficial because when we see these situations down range, we will know how to configure the shipments for the loads for the different aircraft,” said Senior Airman Broderick McMillan, 41st APS air transportation specialist. “Every plane is different, so what works for one plane may not work for another. We have different regulations that we have to abide by, and these events help give us experience with working with those different aircraft that we have to load.”