Combat mobility element moves cargo quickly, safely

Members of the Australian Air Force marshal a C-17 Globemaster III into a parking spot at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Members of the Australian Air Force marshal a C-17 Globemaster III into a parking spot at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

A C-17 Globemaster III comes in for a landing at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

A C-17 Globemaster III comes in for a landing at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Airman James Ngo marshals in a second armored personnel carrier onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. Airman Ngo is assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Airman James Ngo marshals in a second armored personnel carrier onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. Airman Ngo is assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Airmen from the Combat Mobility Element, or CME, secure an armored personnel carrier on a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006  The CME is part of the 15th Logistical Readiness Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The CME is in Townsville to help prepare and load equipment on C-17s from Hickam that are repositioning Australian Defense Forces to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Airmen from the Combat Mobility Element, or CME, secure an armored personnel carrier on a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 The CME is part of the 15th Logistical Readiness Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The CME is in Townsville to help prepare and load equipment on C-17s from Hickam that are repositioning Australian Defense Forces to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Airmen from the Combat Mobility Element, or CME, push a cargo pallet onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The CME is part of the 15th Logistical Readiness Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The CME is in Townsville to help prepare and load equipment on C-17s from Hickam that are repositioning Australian Defense Forces to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Airmen from the Combat Mobility Element, or CME, push a cargo pallet onto a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The CME is part of the 15th Logistical Readiness Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The CME is in Townsville to help prepare and load equipment on C-17s from Hickam that are repositioning Australian Defense Forces to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Australian Defense Forces board a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Australian Defense Forces board a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Tuesday, May 30, 2006. Two C-17s from the 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, are helping the Australian Defense Force reposition its forces in Australia to better support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

TOWNSVILLE, Australia (AFPN) -- The 15th Airlift Wing at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, sent a pair of its C-17 Globemaster IIIs here to support the Australian Defense Force. U.S. crews are shuttling cargo and Australian military forces to strategic locations within the country.

This operation involves moving massive amounts of cargo, and while the C-17 is taking care of the airlift, the combat mobility element, also from Hickam AFB, is making things happen on the ground.

Without a solid crew on the ground the mission would lose precious time, and the six-person CME is making sure every minute counts. They ensure the cargo is ready to fly, and then in a flurry of activity, they load the equipment and secure it to the floor of the C-17.

“It might look like chaos in there, but we know what we’re doing,” said Airman 1st Class Santana Sablan, 15th Logistics Readiness Squadron CME. Airman Sablan has worked in the CME since he came out of technical school a few months ago.

“It’s still kind of new to me, but our supervisors and NCOs and senior NCOs train us well, so when it comes down to it we’re not panicking and stuff. We get the job done,” he said.

Hickam’s is one of three CMEs in the Pacific Air Forces. The units are designed to rapidly respond to a mission involving the movement of cargo.

“On average, we’re putting in about 200 days a year (temporary duty) so we get to do this fairly often” said Master Sgt. Carl Lane, crew leader for the Townsville CME operation. “We train for it. When we’re at home station a lot of people say, ‘Those CME guys, they don’t do anything,’ but they don’t understand when we’re at home we’re training. When we’re away we’re working.”

A full load of four armored personnel carriers and two pallets took the CME just 17 minutes to bring on board and secure. This helped keep the C-17 hours ahead of schedule during a full day of shuttles to Darwin, Australia, where the Australian Army is preparing to take action in neighboring East Timor.

“Within the next two to three days after all this cargo is joint inspected, we’re going to have the planes come as fast as they can come and we’re going to get it all out of town,” Sergeant Lane said. “That’s what we train for -- to get the mission done.”