22nd AS teams up with 821st CRG to quicken loadmaster qualification training

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. David W. Carbajal
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the 22nd Airlift Squadron have teamed up with Devil Raiders from the 821st Contingency Response Group to quicken the loadmaster qualification process, while, at the same time, providing training and experience for the CRG’s air transportation specialists.

Since the training partnership began at the end of 2020, the 22nd AS has seen up to a 450 percent increase in qualification processing times for their new C-5 Galaxy loadmasters, which comes at an ideal time, as the squadron saw an increase in loadmasters coming into the squadron from their initial training.

“We gained about 18 ‘unqualified’ loads (loadmasters) over about a six-month period, which is about a 30 percent increase from normal,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Robinson, 22nd AS noncommissioned officer in charge of loadmaster training. 

This increase in loadmasters made it more challenging to get all Airmen qualified in the allotted six-month timeframe. 

“We just didn’t have enough training opportunities to go around, especially with COVID,” Robinson said. 

This is where the partnership began. As part of a continuing effort to maintain proficiency and readiness, Airmen from the 821st CRG jumped at the opportunity to help.

“This is definitely a ‘win-win’ scenario,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Sean Bryant, 821st Contingency Response Squadron aerial port flight commander. “This partnership helps the 22nd (Airlift Squadron), it helps us, which means it helps Team Travis.”

In the beginning of the partnership, the units coordinated days to conduct training using a static C-5. Air Mobility Command allocates one mission-capable C-5 for about 10 days a month to help facilitate training opportunities, such as this.

“For brand-new loadmasters, repetition and familiarity is critical,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Green, 22nd AS instructor loadmaster. “With the help of CRG’s aerial porters, we can provide our loadmasters real onloading and offloading scenarios.”

These scenarios provide opportunities for loadmasters to become more familiar with load plans, the process to load rolling and palletized cargo, as well as tie down procedures, Green said. 

During a typical loading or unloading of an aircraft, the loadmaster works with aerial porters, who use heavy equipment such as forklifts and 25K Halvorsen loaders to transport cargo. 

“Loadmasters and aerial porters work together as a team,” Green said. “They have to learn to speak the same language and they both need to understand they’re working toward a common goal: get the cargo loaded or unloaded safely and efficiently.”

Prior to working with the 22nd AS, 821st CRG aerial porters would augment the 60th Aerial Port Squadron with material handling equipment, pallet building, and pallet loading and unloading.

“Due to COVID, the 60 APS has, understandably, had to reduce the time our CRG members train with them, so this partnership helps make up part of that difference,” Bryant said. “It has also allowed 15 members of my flight getting load training they would not otherwise have access to.” 

The success of the on-going partnership has both units looking forward to the future and units even see opportunities to enhance the training. 

“We have scheduled an off station trainer during the last week of March to Altus, Oklahoma, which will benefit the aircrew and aerial porters conducting engine-running offloads, and cross- functional training with some of our crew chiefs and communications personnel,” said Bryant. “We are also looping in the Air Education and Training Command porters at Altus, who rarely get to work C-5 operations. As Agile Combat Employment becomes more important in today’s Air Force, we look forward to increasing the CRG’s partnership with the 22nd AS.”