NEW CASTLE, Del. — The key to any airlift mission is safely and effectively loading and unloading the cargo, regardless of the type of aircraft. The 167th and 166th Airlift Wings partnered together to conduct a joint cargo loading exercise as part of the 166th's home station operational readiness exercise on May 3.
Approximately 12 members of the 166th Logistic Readiness Squadron worked with the 167th C-17 Globemaster III loadmasters to gain experience working with an aircraft other than their C-130 Hercules.
Chief Master Sgt. James Skilling, Air Transportation Manager, said Airmen learned how to configure the aircraft, tie down cargo, and different positions for the pallets on the C-17.
"It allows our Airmen to get ready basically," Skilling said. "So, if we do deploy, they will know the job and not have to learn on the fly."
For Airman 1st Class Leah Brasure, an air transportation apprentice at the 166th, the hands-on experience and working with a C-17 for the first time was extremely valuable for the recent technical school graduate.
"You get to see what your job is all about and put what you're learning in a book by doing it and it helps you to learn and understand what you're here for," Brasure said.
A Delaware native, Brasure initially pursued a career in security forces because it aligned with her civilian career goals. She changed her mind once she learned how critical and essential the aerial port role is in the airlift mission.
"It comes down to the science of this job and the math behind it. If you're not calculating the weight right among other things, you could end someone's life, or the plane could crash," Brasure said.
Staff Sgt. Becky Campos, a 167th loadmaster, said the exercise was mutually beneficial for both units by working with new people and building relationships across state lines.
"I think it mimics a deployment in a way because when you're deployed, you're working with several different units to get the mission completed," Campos said.
As she gets to know and work with her own Delaware team in her first training exercise, Brasure said it was cool to watch her unit work with the 167th and share knowledge across both groups.
"It makes you proud to be part of the National Guard as a whole," said Campos. "It's kind of cool to see their base and see their mission and their culture for their unit as well."