Hill Airmen conduct joint cargo exercise

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The ability to rapidly deploy with America’s newest stealth fighter was tested here recently during a joint cargo exercise.

The exercise tested the readiness of the Airmen in the 388th Maintenance Group and Hill’s cargo specialists in the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

“We need to be sure we have the training and skills to get everything together and put it out the door on scheduled flights,” said Capt. Dean Kazi, 75th LRS director of operations.

“We’ve got to practice like we play,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Murphy, 388th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment specialist. “If something big pops off, real-world, we have to get all this equipment out of here.”

The process begins with the 388th maintainers building the pallets to precise safety standards and preparing the cargo for flight within a specific timeframe.

“We make sure everything is in order and all this equipment gets processed correctly and on time,” Murphy said. “The goal is to not break that time, but we also have to ensure safety. Building with correct weights and standards helps to be sure the transport aircraft can do its job with our equipment onboard.”

During the exercise, Tech. Sgt. Zachary Burson and his team at the 75th LRS Air Terminal Operations Center received the equipment and provided quality control before the processing the cargo.

“We make sure everything going on there is air worthy and it’s within regulations,” Burson said. “We look at restraints, making sure that it’s properly secured and labeled. Anything potentially harmful going onboard the aircraft has to be properly labeled.”

Burson said he liked being a part of the exercise, because he got to work with the 388th mission partners.

“This exercise is great because we are able to work with them,” he said. “This unit is being tested and there are some things we’re working on, and the 388th is very cooperative in fixing things. Once it’s complete, I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Kazi said this exercise helped hone the skills of the Airmen in his unit who he calls consummate professionals who know the mission and understand how important it is.

“There’s nothing else more important than to deploy in times of contingency and take the fight to the enemy,” he said. “This is our warfighting mission at Hill Air Force Base. It’s the most important part of the job.”