Combat mobility element moves cargo quickly, safely
By Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais , Air Force Print News
/ Published June 01, 2006
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.”