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Pack It up!

  • Published
  • By by Staff Sgt. Laura Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing

Air Conditioning Units, mobile stairs, and military trucks; oh my! Airmen assigned to the 145th Airlift Wing complete a Cargo Deployment Function exercise at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base located at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Feb. 7, 2021.

The purpose of a Cargo Deployment Function exercise is similar to a Personnel Deployment Line, wherein, pallets loaded with equipment and individual pieces of large equipment are processed through a series of checks and balances before making their way to be placed on an aircraft; an assembly line of sorts.

“We have to make sure each piece that goes on that aircraft is not a liability,” stated Officer in Charge of the Cargo Deployment Function, Capt. Jack Hogue, “We don’t want to put something on the aircraft that has hazardous material or that is out of balance and may make the aircraft crash.”

The first step in the Cargo Deployment Function is to check-in the equipment that is scheduled to be loaded, and to make sure it is on the manifesto. Once the item(s) is checked in, it is inspected to make sure that it’s safe to have on an aircraft. Once the item is deemed safe, it is then run through quality assurance and planning where it is decided how and where the item will be placed on the aircraft. The final step of the process is sending the item to the aircraft to be loaded by a team.

There is strategy and care that takes place when getting the equipment stationed on an aircraft.

“The cart that we’re pushing up has an articulated tongue, so that means there are two places that can pivot which makes it more difficult,” states Air Transportation Specialist Staff Sgt. Jason Moore, 145th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “The training we’re doing now is for an exercise in December so the weather should be similar.”

This is Staff Sgt. Moore’s second time conducting an exercise like this and having worked in the North Carolina Air National Guard for six years, he’s had plenty of practice moving items on and off aircraft.

For some, the exercise is new.

“I’ve been in the North Carolina Air National Guard for one and a half years and I just finished training at school so this is my first exercise like this here at the base,” stated Airman 1st Class Shelby Rankin, 156th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “We have new people and they want us to practice on tying down chains, marshaling, and working together on the aircraft.”

The positive attitudes and overall atmosphere promote that the exercise conducted exactly as expected.

“We’ve been practicing and we’re pretty good,” Staff Sgt. Moore exclaimed.