LRS ‘Port Dogs’ form wing’s first Aerial Port Flight
By Capt. Alyson Teeter, 129th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 14, 2009
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- The 129th Logistics Readiness Squadron's Aerial Port Flight stood up here Nov. 1, 2008, effectively transforming the way the wing deploys Airmen at home and abroad.
129th Aerial Port personnel, also known as "Port Dogs," are specialized Airmen trained to manage in-transit passenger and cargo movements for state directed missions and AEF deployments, redeployments, and exercises. In the past LRS tasked personnel from various squadrons and diverse career fields to help process equipment through the Cargo Deployment Function.
The National Guard Bureau redistributed Aerial Port resources from Air Mobility Command so that flights could be formed at all units, according to Capt. Al Yeh, Logistics Readiness Squadron Operations Officer. Like the 129th, Air Guard units now have a streamlined, specialized, and global deployment capability.
The LRS Traffic Management Flight spearheaded the conversion. To quickly get the flight up and running, LRS personnel recruited aerial porters from active duty, reserve and guard units, in addition to bringing in several future recruits scheduled for basic training and technical school.
"We now have seasoned professionals that have loaded planes from all over the world," said Senior Master Sgt. Darryl Dyson, 129th Aerial Port Flight Superintendent. "These Port Dogs are professional and well-motivated, and have stepped up to the plate every time to support our search and rescue mission."
Aerial porters play multiple roles during a deployment. Port Dogs form into pre-deployment Tiger Teams to help assist units during pallet build-up. After the cargo is palletized, they perform joint inspections with each unit to ensure safe and secure air worthiness.
"Once our flight is fully formed and trained, teams can also deploy with the unit into theater to form a Redeployment Action Team," Sergeant Dyson added.
Deploying trained aerial porters is an added benefit because the unit coordinates with joint and civilian agencies during deployments and exercises, Captain Yeh said. "The aerial porters can speak the same language with the joint personnel and can more easily integrate and work together than in the past."
Besides processing cargo, the APF has two other key responsibilities: managing the passenger terminal and Air Terminal Ops Center. The passenger terminal function supports the military support flight with processing Airmen through the Personnel Deployment Function.
The ATOC consists of several unique functional areas working together to timely coordinate each step of moving people and cargo into and out of the base. There are multiple elements to the center's mission, ranging from loading, unloading and manifesting cargo and equipment, to ensuring that each person and item is tracked during the travel process.
Even though the Port Dogs are experts in deploying cargo and personnel, deployments remain a team effort within the wing.
"Units are still responsible for ensuring that both passengers and cargo are ready to deploy," Captain Yeh said. "Unit Deployment Managers and Cargo Increment Monitors are still critical to the deployment process."
At the time of publication, the flight was looking for 10 more Port Dogs to round out the 25-person flight. If interested in joining, contact Captain Yeh or Sergeant Dyson.