Charleston loadmasters train Davis-Monthan Airmen

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kerry Fields
  • 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
In an effort to further develop Air Force capabilities, Charleston Air Force Base loadmasters traveled to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., in late April to train augmentees on how to assist loadmasters when loading C-17 Globemaster IIIs. 

With C-17s flying around the world delivering cargo to warfighters, Airmen need to load and unload cargo properly, efficiently and quickly, and the Charleston loadmasters showed the Airmen at Davis-Monthan how to be better prepared for future C-17 operations.

When loadmasters deploy, they are often under stringent time restrictions and are given a specific ground time to load and unload the aircraft. Furthermore, the method of unloading and loading the cargo varies. The equipment can be loaded using a winch or pulleys, or it can be driven on board the aircraft. 

Augmentees from different Davis-Monthan squadrons and career fields were selected for the training. The training allowed for a more realistic situation that mimics deployments to bases not familiar with C-17 operations. And, the off-site training developed skills for inexperienced Airmen on how to handle loading cargo without the help of an experienced supervisor.

In addition to training the Davis-Monthan Airmen, the Charleston loadmasters gained experience as trainers. 

"It is great to be able to train other individuals so they can help out other loadmasters in the future," said Airman 1st Class Matthew Efird, a 14th Airlift Squadron loadmaster.

At Davis-Monthan AFB, loadmasters were tasked with loading various cargo onto a C-17. Not only is it important for augmentees to know how to load the aircraft, but also they need to know how to properly secure it. With less than 1 inch clearance between a 31,000-pound K-loader and a 28,000-pound fuel truck, there is little room for error.

"Safety is the overall goal of a loadmaster," said Airman 1st Class Peter Jensen, a 14th AS loadmaster. "In addition to our duties, we made sure the augmentees were trained properly to minimize future potential hazards."

Loadmasters are tasked with loading cargo ranging from pallets of produce to munitions, helicopters, tanks, people and high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles.

"We can load pretty much anything that will fit and isn't against regulations," said Airman Jensen. "This off-site training allows for more experience with different loads while learning how to tie cargo down on the fly."

"This is the first time I've been to off-site training. This allowed me to get experience unloading cargo so I'm more comfortable on down-range missions," said Airman 1st Class James Soto, a 14th AS loadmaster.

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page