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News | Feb. 15, 2018

It ships if it fits

By Senior Airman Omari Bernard 18th Wing Public Affairs

Ever wonder how aircraft parts get shipped out from the base? The 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron Traffic Management Office ships out any cargo that needs to be sent from units on Kadena Air Base to other installations. Whether it’s for resupply or repair, TMO outbound will get it there.

“It could be the smallest of objects,” said Staff Sgt. Jamaal Witherspoon, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in charge of water port. “Anything from nails and screws, to aircraft engines and propellers.”

Despite the ability to ship even the smallest of nuts and bolts, according to Witherspoon, the majority of the items shipped through the TMO outbound section are for repairs.

“We ensure that parts are being shipped quickly and efficiently to ensure that units around the Air Force are able to complete their mission,” said Senior Airman Garrett DeLoach, 18th LRS outbound freight journeyman.

Before any cargo is shipped out, Airmen from TMO outbound verify the asset, inspect the item for damage, and then prepare the cargo for the appropriate transportation, even constructing custom boxes and packaging if need be. TMO also prepares the items and ships according to classification levels.

These procedures are generally used during day-to-day operations. However, the procedure changes when handling classified material.

“There is an extensive process when handling classified material,” Garrett said. “We have to check to ensure the deliverers are qualified to transport the cargo, ensure our personnel are trained and have the proper clearance and verify everyone that is going to handle it at any point is certified.”

The outbound section of TMO supports more than just Kadena. A key part of their mission is to also support military installations and units around the globe, including units that are deployed, explained Witherspoon. Anything that is shipped from Kadena can affect a mission’s outcome, ensuring that what needs to be sent out is properly packaged and ready to go, is critical.

Despite being so far from the U.S., Kadena Air Base has facilities that are capable of servicing, supplying and repairing equipment that make an impact on the U.S. Air Force’s mission in the Pacific and also the entire globe.

“Instead of waiting for something to be repaired or replaced from the states, it could be more efficient to send that cargo from here instead,” Garrett said. “The cargo we send can make the difference between mission success or mission failure.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Kadena Air Base website.