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By Daniel Butterfield, 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 13, 2017
Members of the 39th Aerial Port Squadron pose with their guideon before running the annual Port Dawg Memorial Run, May 14, 2016 here. More than 30 of the squadron members are deployed, or getting ready to deploy, to Southwest Asia for six months. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amber Sorsek)
Members of the 302nd Airlift Wing’s 39th Aerial Port Squadron began departing Colorado Springs, Colo., for Southwest Asia in December and will continue leaving in small groups through March of 2017 in support of Operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve.
The Air Force Reservists will provide support to ramp and cargo operations, passenger services, load planning, special handling and manning the air terminal operations center at various locations throughout Southwest Asia while deployed. Two Reserve officers from the squadron are also deploying where they will act as logistics readiness officers, handling anything from installation deployment operations to deployment passenger operations.
“Within aerial port we do have [multiple] specialties and we train our personnel so that they can be put into most positions,” said Chris Meyer, 39th APS unit deployment manager.
This deployment will be the first one for about 30-percent of the Airmen.
“They jumped at the chance,” said Meyer. “But we rely heavily on those folks who have been there before, to give these guys guidance, and make sure they are good to go. They’ve been there. They’ve seen it. They know what to expect and can relay that information.”
And while they are gone they have the support of the remainder of the squadron if they need it.
“We are a close knit group. And we have one of the best key spouses out there,” said Meyer.
“We truly see ourselves as a family and we operate and take care of each other as such,” said Maj. Royce Johnson, the squadron commander. “Our ‘Port Dawgs’ have an amazing ability to adapt and overcome, while maintaining a positive attitude that is reflective in the workplace, home station or down range.”
The deployed work schedule for the aerial port Airmen is expected to be 12-hour days, six days a week and the 39th Aerial Port Squadron is ready for the challenge.
“I have no doubt our Airmen will perform stellar while deployed. I am sure we will have a couple hiccups, that is to be expected whether Active Duty or Reserve when deploying. The 39th APS is comprised of some of the sharpest folks in the wing. Our Airmen are successful both in the uniform and out of the uniform and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to any table they come to,” said Johnson.