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41st APS Breaks Ground for New Aerial Port Facility

Posted 2/15/2011   Updated 2/15/2011 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens
403rd Wing Public Affairs

2/15/2011 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS.  -- The 403rd Wing's 41st Aerial Port Squadron will soon have a new place to call home. Construction began Feb. 11 at the future location of the 41st APS facility.

According to Lt. Col. Michael Grubb, 41st APS commander, this new state-of-the-art building will be a "purpose-built facility" designed to meet 41st APS mission requirements.

"The primary mission of the 41st APS is to safely coordinate the actions of anything going on or off the aircraft, whether it be passengers, equipment or vehicles," said Colonel Grubb. "We also perform joint inspections to ensure that items match up with packing lists, weights are correct, and palettes are built properly."

The 41st APS has been located in Hangars 3, 4 and 5 at various times since its activation in 1988. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the aerial porters moved into Hangar 4, but the building was not customized for the 41st APS mission.

"Space has always been an issue," said Master Sgt. Bill Grady, a 41st APS aerial porter who has been with the unit since 1998. "The new building will provide us the room we need for better utilization of our resources both for training purposes and accomplishing our mission."

The design for the new two-story facility allots approximately 30,000 square feet for workspace, classrooms and administration.

"The layout of the facility is dedicated to the current mission of the aerial port," said Colonel Grubb. "There's also enough flexibility in the design for us to handle any mission changes that may come down the line."

Plans for the new facility accommodate space for rigging parachutes used for airdrop missions by the 815th Airlift Squadron and for assembling loads in a controlled environment.

"Most of our work is performed outside on the ramp, but this facility will allow us to continue working and training inside in case of inclement weather," said Colonel Grubb. "In the load configuration area, we'll have a set of rollers built into the floor that we can use to assemble, weigh and move loads in a weather-tight environment."

According to Capt. Justin Cooper, 41st APS officer in charge of terminal services, location was a key element in selecting the site for the new facility.

"Aerial port has such an airfield-oriented mission that we need to be placed somewhere with direct access to the flight line. This is something we don't have in our current building," said Captain Cooper.

The site for the new facility sits between the 815th AS building and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, right where the old Biloxi Hangar used to be. This location gives the Citizen Airmen of the 41st APS direct flight line access to aircraft for both squadrons, said Captain Cooper.

"We'll be able to drive our K-loaders right up to the dock, open the facility's bay doors, load up our vehicles, and then pull straight out onto the flight line," said Colonel Grubb.

According to the colonel, the new facility will help increase the overall efficiency of the 41st APS members.

"I have a bunch of great people that are excited about getting the job done," said Colonel Grubb. "I believe moving into this purpose-built facility with the caliber of people we have will really allow the 41st APS to shine."

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