AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
The 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron tested the reception and deployment process of its newly-developed cargo deployment function Feb. 23-25, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
The 379th ELRS inspected, weighed and measured cargo to make sure it would be usable and serviceable for the people receiving during the Agile Combat Employment capstone event. Items ranging from water bottles to mobile communication kits deployed to other bases by the 379th Expeditionary Communication Squadron were a part of this process. Each pallet was lined up and organized in a way that indicated the aircraft it would be loaded onto and the destination of the cargo.
“We are dealing with tracking cargo that is being loaded onto 13 different aircraft to be sent out into the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” said Master Sgt. Amanda Richardson, logistics plans superintendent with the 379th ELRS. “We have to have in-transit visibility of this cargo, from takeoff to where it lands. If a plane breaks down mid-transit, we have to be tracking all of it. This is our first major muscle movement from what will become our permanent CDF pad, so we are trying to take a system that was ad hoc and turning it into a consistent function at Al Udeid.”
Crew on the pad who accept the cargo can range from 10-30 people depending on the time of day and expected workload. They are a mix of traffic management, aerial port and ground transportation Airmen.
“We all work together to get cargo deployment accomplished,” said Senior Airman Jason Anderson, cargo deployment function specialist. “It can make for challenging days when things don’t go according to plan and people run late or we have to redo pallets, but in the end, we are going to do what we need to get the job done.”
The squadron had two weeks to coordinate this movement, and what goes up must come down. When the ACE capstone event is concluded, everything shipped with the aircraft that belongs to the squadrons and crews will be coming back.
“In the end, this will be a four-week-long process,” said Richardson. “We worked with eight wing entities and even with U.S. Air Forces Central to get this process running. While four weeks seems like a long time, this level of coordination required a lot of man hours in addition to the other real-world coordination we had running at the same time.”
In the end, the CDF team went through 52 tons of cargo in addition to accounting for the movement of 252 people.
“This is a great initial run for our now permanent function,” said Capt. Anthony Trucco, the installation deployment officer with the 379th ELRS. “We have many future projects related to improving this operation, and the lessons learned from this movement will inform that process.”