Spc. O. A. Ayyad
3rd Brigade Combat Team Journalist
As an Air Force C-17 Globemaster travels from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to Fort Drum, Soldiers from D Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, prepare equipment and supplies for transport.
Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team units cooperated to demonstrate their capability of rapid deployment April 8 at Fort Drum as part of the brigade’s Mission Essential Task List.
When the decision is made that a unit will deploy, it begins at the major Army command level. After the order is disseminated to the proper channels, the gears engage, results are produced, and mission-ready Soldiers and their equipment are onboard an aircraft en route to their destination within 96 hours.
The logistical side of an emergency deployment readiness exercise is not as simple as it may seem, said James E. Wagner, a motor vehicle officer of the Departure / Arrival Airfield Contact Group at the Rapid Deployment Facility at Fort Drum.
“The load team has to have the load and its paperwork in order six hours prior to flight time,” Wagner said. “The team has to input accurate measurements of height, width, length and weight of each vehicle into a computer program to determine their center of balance. After that, the supervisor, with the assistance of D/AACG, creates a load plan.”
The purpose of the load plan is to calculate the distribution of equipment and personnel on an aircraft that would maintain the overall center of gravity the aircraft must maintain for proper operations, said Staff Sgt. Nicholas D. Johnney, noncommissioned officer in charge of the EDRE.
“An aircraft needs to maintain its own center of gravity for proper flight,” Johnney said. “The D/AACG works with us and the Air Force to ensure communication, and they help us maintain the proper paperwork for both branches.”
Although the C-17 flying from Dover Air Force Base did not land due to inclement weather, Soldiers of D Troop continued their training by implementing their load plan in a motor bay at the RDF.
Pfc. Joanna M. Linares, a motor transport operator, and the rest of the load team placed Humvees, trailers and other heavy equipment in a hypothetical aircraft according to the load plan.
“In a real-world scenario, I would pick up medical supplies from Guthrie Clinic,” said Linares. “We prepare medical supplies, food and anything else the mission requires for transport.”
Spc. Shawn M. Rogers, the most experienced member of the load team, has participated in more than 50 transport missions.
“I help make sure Soldiers and their equipment get to their destination safely,” said Rogers with a smile. “That is pretty cool.”
Remaining cool and collected is necessary in all missions. However, a load team needs to be able to load an entire aircraft in less than 30 minutes, and although the team didn’t have the opportunity to certify without their Air Force counterparts, it’s ready to do its part – a small but vitally important part.