LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Arkansas -- ‘Port Dawgs’ from the 189th Aerial Port Flight, Air National Guard, and from the 96th Aerial Port Squadron, Air Force Reserve, created a joint training event at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, June 3-6, 2021.
The training event required each unit’s air transportation specialists, also known as ‘Port Dawgs’, to use the broad spectrum of their knowledge and skills in order to inspect and prepare equipment, load cargo and process passengers within the allotted time.
“There is a long logistical presence needed to support the warfighter, especially considering the vast distances our forces can project military power,” said Capt. Nick Paladino, 96th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer. “Port Dawgs are the linchpin for handling the supplies and personnel through a region on behalf of the combatant commander. We train on a variety of airframes and cargo to ensure the transportation happens quickly and safely.”
The scenario required air transportation specialists to find the ideal way to transport equipment, such as a Humvee, trailer, all-terrain vehicle, air-mobile container, passengers, and medical supplies, onto mobility aircraft.
“There are many factors to consider when shipping different cargo with different aircraft,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gustav Schmidle, 96 APS air transportation specialist. “It is critical to communicate between all the involved agencies to ensure the aircraft is able to deliver cargo to multiple locations. Each new task necessitates problem solving skills and team work to find the best way to meet the mission’s intent. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to air transportation.”
Port Dawgs can be deployed individually or as a team to support logistics anywhere in the world, loading cargo amongst variety of airframes or vehicles.
“Working with the Reserve Group is a great way to enhance our skills and interoperability,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Blaylock, 189 APF air cargo specialist. “I would like to see more exercises like this since each organization brings different aspects and experiences allowing us to learn from one another. It also builds comradery between us as we share stories about what we’ve done and where we’ve been. In the end, we’re all part of the total force.”
Traditional Guardsmen and Reservists typically train one weekend a month, two weeks a year. Training scenarios, such as the one conducted, maximize the resources available to accomplish as much readiness requirements as possible.