Airmen back up AF units with emergency materiel reserves

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariette Adams
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
As the traffic management Airman loads two crates into the container, his eyes are locked onto the spacing. With little room for error, he remains focused. He slowly maneuvers the crates into place with a forklift and guides them perfectly into position.

"It takes precision in order to load the crates correctly because we only have a 2- to-3-inch clearance between the containers and crates," said Senior Airman Fabian Delgado, a traffic management journeyman with the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Since the 49th Materiel Maintenance Support Squadron's Operating Location Alpha moved from MacDill Air Force Base to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, in 2015, traffic management Airmen have been loading excess materiel for bases in need.

Within the past few months, the 6th LRS has moved over 50 of the maintenance support squadron’s war reserve materiel crates from MacDill AFB to locations throughout the world.

"The purpose of the war reserve materiel program is to strategically place materiel like equipment, vehicles, consumables, munitions, and medical resources that are required to support various operational plans and contingencies around the globe," said Tech. Sgt. Melinda Thomas, the NCO in charge of outbound cargo with the 6th LRS.

From ordering containers and scheduling drop-offs to loading the containers and sending them across the world, the process to get materiel where it needs to go is a team effort.

"It took the whole team in order to get the crates out in a timely fashion,” said Airman 1st Class Wyatt Simmons, a traffic management apprentice with the 6th LRS. "Our team showed excellence in all we do as we were able to effectively accomplish the mission."

With the trial and error of moving crates around the container, the innovative Airmen were able to maximize the use of the containers and get material to its final destination.

"There are certain bases within multiple areas of responsibility that have war reserve materiel programs," Thomas said. "Storing these assets at those locations cuts transportation time and costs when the items are requested. In moving these assets, we are helping to maintain a postured force."

Through the work of MacDill Airmen, bases around the world continue to be mission ready, and the Air Force maintains the ability to respond anywhere within hours, not days.