NY Air Guard helps train Air Force Reserve port specialists

  • Published
  • By Jaclyn Lyons
  • New York National Guard

SCOTIA, N.Y. – The New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing is hosting two Air Force Reserve Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base while they complete their hands-on training as aerial port specialists.

The Airmen, assigned to the 87th Aerial Port Squadron of the 445th Airlift Wing, are spending 60 days learning from their counterparts at the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia.

Fourteen Airmen have been trained since the relationship began in 2017, said Master Sgt. Justin Carkner, 109th air transportation specialist.

Airmen have on-the-job training requirements when they graduate from technical school. They get more specific training and learn the overall functions of being an air transportation specialist.

"We opened ourselves up to the community, Guard and Reserve, to come and see our facility," Carkner said. "We have a unique mission they like to take part in, and we get to teach them a couple of things while they are here."

Wright-Patterson doesn't have an active mission, so the Airmen don't have the opportunity for as much hands-on experience.

"The 87th contacted us. They wanted a training program with an active mission and experienced trainers. They did a couple of site visits and liked our operation and started the program with our squadron. They come here for 60 days, learn as much as they can, and they go back as qualified as we can make them," Carkner explained.

Senior Airman Ian Chisholm is assigned to the 87th Aerial port squadron and is about halfway through his training with the 109th. He said he is a tactile learner, so the hands-on training has helped him learn a lot.

"There is enough going to where I am learning all the facets of the job, but it's also not so busy that you just get caught in the flow and pushed to the side," Chisholm said.

Airman 1st Class Trevor Cornelius is also assigned to the 87th and about halfway through his training. A full-time information technology operations specialist in his civilian job, he said he has enjoyed doing something different.

"I love to mix it up. I spend most of my time behind a desk, so it is great to get out and use my hands and learn a totally different set of skills," Cornelius said.

Chisholm is excited to have the opportunity to see his work from start to finish.

On the day he was interviewed, he was helping to load and secure a pallet set to ship to Greenland.

He will also be on the next trip to Greenland, loading the cargo that will be delivered to Kangerlussuaq and Summit Station, the research station near the apex of the Greenland ice sheet.

"When we have the capability, we send them to Greenland as well. It's rewarding and it's nice to see them progress as they go along in the program and really start understanding the aspects of the job and see it come full circle," said Carkner.

The 109th Airlift Wing flies the LC-130 "Ski Bird" version of the C-130 transport, which is configured to land on ice and snow. The wing's Airmen routinely carry people and supplies for American scientific research in Antarctica and on the Greenland ice cap.