Training, new equipment, help AZ Guard with heavy lift

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt Wes Parrell
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Whether it’s responding to the aftermath of a natural disaster or deploying across the globe, the time it takes to get resources where they are needed is critical to mission success.

Earlier this month, nearly two dozen Citizen Soldiers and Airmen of the Arizona National Guard completed an operator’s course on a Deployable Automated Cargo Measurement System. This system will help cut the average time of 10 to 15 minutes it takes air cargo specialists to make pre-flight calculations of a vehicle being shipped by aircraft to less than 60 seconds.

“Goldwater Air National Guard Base is an aerial port of embarkation, meaning our air transportation experts are called upon to receive, process, and load personnel and equipment for airlift by any cargo-capable military aircraft, to include our own fleet of KC-135s, “ said Lt. Col. Gabe Johnson, 161st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “As an Air National Guard unit, this function really speaks to our core mission to respond to natural disasters, humanitarian relief, and combat operations. When we deploy cargo via air for these missions, we have to be precise in order to ensure flight safety, and we have to be fast in order to meet mission requirements.”

Before the 161st LRS had the DACMS, each vehicle had to be parked, weighed, measured, and labeled by an air cargo specialist before it could be loaded onto an aircraft. With this system, a vehicle is driven through an access point as lasers measure the length, width, and height of it and any trailers or cargo that may be attached. Then, without stopping, it is driven over scales which calculate the center-of-balance, gross weight, and axle weights. A label is then printed with everything the air cargo specialists need to know about the vehicle before it is loaded.

"Although this system is not new to mobility operations, it is an enhancement of our capabilities to process cargo and load our aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Anderson, an air cargo specialist with the 161st Logistics Readiness Squadron. “In 2005, we supported the response efforts for hurricane Katrina and had to process over 50 large power company trucks for shipping, which was a long and labor intensive task. With DACMS it would have taken a fraction of the time to get the resources needed to the most impacted communities.”

This system will be used to support both Army and Air National Guard operations, allowing the Arizona National Guard to provide joint and interagency operability when need by our state and nation.

“I’m really proud to see our Airmen working with their Army counterparts to improve readiness overall within our state,” Johnson said. “The Arizona Army Guard’s ability to deploy cargo via airlift is becoming as vital as our own ability to do so. Together we are creating a pool of trained experts with the skills needed to employ the DACMS and teach others in the state how to use it.”

Goldwater Air National Guard Base is located at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and is the home of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing, which operates one of the busiest air refueling missions in the country.