Beneath the Skies: Logistics Readiness

By Maj. John T. Stamm 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing

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Moving personnel and cargo around the globe is not an easy task, but the Airmen of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, make it look easy.

Their mission: getting personnel and cargo to their final destination on time. 

“We have a phenomenal team who work together day in and day out to make the mission happen,” said Capt. Lisa McCarthy, 332 ELRS Deployment and Distribution Flight commander.  “By keeping a timely process we ensure on-time departures for aircraft, which, if not managed correctly, could ultimately impact not only our mission, but the missions of other units who are awaiting the personnel or cargo we’re moving.”

At its busiest 3-month period, the 332 ELRS moves over 4,500 personnel and 5,000 short tons (10 million lbs.) of cargo.  The teamwork and communication required to execute this movement is critical; teams work in sync to ensure accountability and execution and to mitigate or eliminate possible limitations.

Logistics planners and the installation deployment officer organize, disseminate, and execute requirements-driven mobility information while constantly communicating and coordinating with all involved units.  Typically generating two or three different backup plans per mission as a failsafe to ensure success, they work closely with Personnel Support for Contingency Operations (PERSCO), supply, the Traffic Management Office, the aerial port and several others to complete the process. 

For personnel, the process usually begins about 100 days prior to movement.  Passenger travel representatives such as Airman 1st Class Kaila Ramirez, 332 ELRS/TMO, work directly with unit travel representatives and the logistics planners to provide individual movement plans.  This team secures proper booking for these members ensuring they make it to their final destination.

Logistics planners then create a digital profile with the Air Operations Center’s Air Mobility Division and the Transportation Movement Office creates flight reservations.  The aerial port team manages the passenger terminal and transportation of passengers to and from aircraft.  Upon arrival, PERSCO members provide in-processing at a reception control center so all personnel have the correct documentation and information.

“We ensure the most cost efficient, reliable, and feasible travel for both the Air Force and Airmen,” said Ramirez.  “This reduces the risk of lost or missed travel, and ensures Airmen get to where they need to be, on time, in order to execute their mission.”

Cargo movement is similar to passenger movement.  Behind the scenes exists an efficient logistical network.  The ground transportation section performs several delivery “sweeps” each day, picking up and delivering items to and from all the main warehouses, supply shops and cargo aircraft.

For instance, if an aircraft requires a specific part replaced, maintenance will request the part from the supply shop.  If the part is not in stock, it is sourced from another location.  That part is pulled from the supply warehouse at that location, sent to TMO to package/ship, and then placed on an aircraft by aerial porters.  The part arrives at its destination, unloaded from the plane by aerial port, unpacked by TMO, and sent to supply to issue to the maintainer. 

The 332 ELRS is at the center of moving people and cargo.  In addition to personnel and aircraft parts, they transport ammunition or other hazardous material, office equipment, different fuels, fitness equipment, and even vehicles.  The system and mission readiness rely on everybody doing their job, on time and on point, to be successful.

“Without the proper movement of cargo and people, aircraft would be affected,” said Master Sergeant Roderick Caswell, Senior Logistics Planner.  “We are essential to the mission.”

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing continues the legacy of the famous Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, delivering full-spectrum integrated air and space power, providing agile combat support, developing and empowering innovative Airmen, cultivating relationships with joint and coalition partners, and posturing the wing for enduring strategic presence in Southwest Asia.


Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing website.