by Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
455th Air Expeditionary Wing
8/31/2015 - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- When
mission essential goods need to be delivered to bases around
Afghanistan, C-130J Super Hercules loadmasters provide the help needed
to ensure cargo is placed in the right hands in support of NATO's
Resolute Support mission.
The loadmasters here are deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base,
Arkansas, and are responsible for helping transport cargo and people to
and from various forward operating bases within the area of
Loadmasters duties include the proper loading and unloading of cargo,
passenger safety during flight, and ensuring the aircraft' weight and
balance is within limitations to fly.
"Here in the AOR, we mostly deliver a lot of goods and cargo to folks at
other FOBs. It's quite different from what we do back at home station,"
said Staff Sgt. Casey Strauss, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron
C-130J Super Hercules loadmaster. "We have two loadmasters assigned to
each mission and we basically go from FOB to FOB delivering cargo."
On a daily basis, the loadmasters make three to six stops a day at
various locations in Afghanistan, such as Mazar-e-Sahrif Airfield,
Harmid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and Camp Dwyer.
"We drop off different things such as food, medical supplies and
ammunition," Strauss said. "Each mission is different. Sometimes we have
large shipments and few passengers, and sometimes we have a plane full
of passengers and no cargo."
When arriving at a location, the team coordinates with the Air Terminal
Operations Center in loading and unloading cargo. Depending on the
mission, the aircraft may stay in place for a few minutes or hours.
"We start at Bagram and go to each FOB that we have on our schedule.
Some missions are quick and some last all day," he said. "It's a routine
for us; we switch out loadmaster teams every other day so everyone gets
a chance to get crew rest."
The team is scheduled to re-deploy home to Little Rock AFB soon, and will be replaced with a team from Dyess AFB, Texas.
"I've really enjoyed my deployment here, supporting the mission has been
great," Strauss said. "It's great working with good professional
aviators that care about getting the mission done successfully."