Loadmaster training for Traditional Guardsman
/ Published August 20, 2019
MEMPHIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Memphis, Tenn. (August 11, 2019) --Members of the 164th Airlift Wing train how to load armored vehicles onto a C-17 Globemaster III August 10 in Memphis, Tenn.
In order to get cargo onto the C-17, a team from air transportation in the 164th Logistics Readiness and Supply and loadmasters from the 155th Airlift Squadron worked together to perform a static load for two armored security vehicle M1117s and an armored Humvee.
Training like this is important because most of the airmen on base are traditional guardsmen, which means they only get to operate the equipment for their specific career field on an average of one weekend out of each month and two weeks out of the year. Airmen like, SrA Adam Itayem, an air transportation specialist who has been with the 164th since March of 2015, don’t get to see some of the most important aspects of their jobs until their two weeks of annual training that happens only once a year.
“It’s important to us because we don’t get to see that stuff everyday, only when we’re on ATs. So, it’s pretty cool that we get to mess around with equipment like that and learn how to properly load and unload.” Itayem said. “It helped me out because I’ve never had to load equipment like that or something that big.”
It’s important that the Airmen get to train as often as possible because the nature of their job is detailed and can be dangerous with all the different moving parts. As the loadmasters were directing each together so that they could get each armored security vehicle and Humvee onto the plane, the team from air transportation was strapping each vehicle down to the plane.
“Loading an aircraft is very detailed. It’s specific and if you’re not familiar with it or if you don’t get to do it often, like a drill status guardsman, then you could end up having issues getting something loaded.” Master Sgt. Jeffery A. Vestal, the ramp services non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) from the 164th LRS said.
As the NCOIC, Vestal explained, that it is his job to make sure all his airmen receive training. This exercise allowed him to make sure that the junior airmen knew how to load an airplane since they were newer to the career field, while he was training the more seasoned airmen on how to be a team chief. When uploading and downloading cargo on an aircraft, the team chief of air transportation team actively directs and assists the other airmen when strapping down cargo to the plane.
“We can sit here, and we can load an airplane with just you and I talking about it right now. I could tell you every detail about it but until you get your hands on it, “you won’t understand it completely”,” Vestal said.
(U.S. Air National Guard story by Airman 1st Class TráVonna Hawkins)