Port Dawgs make mission movement effective
By Airman 1st Class Jacob Gutierrez, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 14, 2019
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
During a busy evening on the flightline, Airmen wait in out-processing lines hauling baggage filled with clothes, comforts and necessities to get them through a deployment. It may appear hectic, but there are devoted people streamlining the process.
An Air Expeditionary Force, or mass deployment, involves moving personnel and cargo in multiple aircraft downrange over multiple dates. When the AEF occurs, a small 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron air terminal group, the “Port Dawgs,” are able to get everything off the ground with minimal delay and maximum efficiency due to their steadfast dedication and practice throughout the year. If they don’t keep moving then the mission doesn’t move.
“We train a lot to stay prepared,” said Staff Sgt. Katrina Baker, 20th LRS air transportation specialist. “We have classes twice a month during the year and have training on top of that. The training exercises keep our heads in the game and keep us on our toes.”
The 20th LRS mission is to provide integrated logistics planning, supply, and transportation support to the 20th Fighter Wing, 9th Air Force, USAFCENT, and tenant units when orchestrating the deployment, employment, and redeployment of aircraft, support personnel, and equipment.
“Without us teaching Airmen how to prepare cargo, everything would have to process through ground transportation,” said Senior Airman Jacob Guy, 20th LRS small air terminal deployment instructor. “It would be much less economical and have to go through so many more ports, which would cause delays.”
Most of the training the Port Dawgs do is to ensure they can successfully utilize pertinent technology that prevents the Air Force from having to incur those larger costs. Some of those programs that help are the Global Air Transportation Execution System and the Integrated Computerized Deployment System.
According to the Department of Defense website, GATES is a single - port management system for aerial and surface port operations while ICODES provides multi-modal load planning capabilities to the DOD.
Baker said the two technologies are extremely beneficial in managing their passenger and cargo manifests, by increasing effectiveness to make sure everything arrives on time.
The Port Dawgs embrace the 20th FW formula of “Unify. Simplify. Win.” for mission success when moving both people and multi-million dollar machinery to deployed areas. They simplify their methods to meet mission requirements and have developed the process for handling a large amount of paperwork associated with every AEF with efficiency while not neglecting careful attention to detail.
Not only do they have to be efficient in working with Team Shaw’s aircraft and personnel, but when working alongside other teams as well.
For the last AEF, a C-5M Super Galaxy was flown in to move some of the larger cargo to its final destination at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The Port Dawgs worked in tandem with loadmasters from the 9th Airlift Squadron to ensure our cargo was strapped down and ready to move.
At the end of the day, after everything was loaded, it was the Port Dawgs who made the last checks before everything took to the horizon in support of the efforts downrange.
“The cargo is safe, the people are safe, and the mission (continues),” said Guy.