Reservists 'take over' Hickam air ops

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais
  • AFPN
Reservists from the 87th Aerial Port Squadron out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are running the Air Mobility Command operation here.

Over the next two weeks, Airmen from the 87th APS will be responsible for duties normally done by the Hickam-based 735th Air Mobility Squadron, including running the air terminal operations center (ATOC), freight, fleet, and passenger services, administration, and supply functions.

"Basically they do what's called a port takeover," said Tech. Sgt. April Martinez, 735th AMS Aerial Port Reserve Coordinator. "The first couple of days we do training and make sure they're all integrated into the unit. Then our people step back and the Reserve unit steps forward," she said.

The 735th AMS hosts a different Reserve unit about every two weeks, almost year-round. Usually it's a team of about 35 people that integrates with the 735th's team. Once a year, a full complement of about 150 people arrives to do a full port takeover. Sergeant Martinez coordinates the Reservists' stay at Hickam.

"I work with the team chief for every unit that comes out here," she said. "It's a lot of coordination prior to them even arriving, making sure that everything is set up and ready for them to go as soon as they get here."

Hickam's busy flightline is an ideal training ground for young Reservists who otherwise may not get to see some aspects of their job.

"This runway is moving all the time and they process a lot of passengers," said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Opp, 87th Aerial Port Squadron air transportation specialist.

"For an air transportation specialist it's very eye-opening. Coming from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which doesn't process very many passengers, we don't see that many live missions as Reservists, so it's good to be involved in this total force mission," he said.

Taking complete control of an air mobility squadron is huge responsibility, but with an active duty team providing support where necessary, it can make for a great training environment.

"This allows us to understand what our full responsibilities are as active duty air transportation specialists. It gives us a chance to learn the small things that you can only learn when you're doing the whole job," said Sergeant Opp.

"It allows all of us to see what the end mission is and allows us to be part of something that we don't normally get to be a part of," he said.