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Staff Sgt. Zack Prejean, 41st Aerial Port Squadron, adjusts the ratchet strap on a cargo box while Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class David Goerk operates the forklift. Goerk is from Naval Cargo Handling Battalion in North Charleston, S.C. Members of Naval Expeditionary Logistics Regiment 4 of the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, joined the 403rd Logistics Readiness Squadron and 41st APS to conduct a joint training exercise at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Apr. 12-17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Heather Newcomb)
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Training has Loggies and Port Dawgs seeing purple

Posted 4/18/2012   Updated 4/20/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. Michael Duhe
403rd Wing Public Affairs


4/18/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS. -- April's Unit Training Assembly was atypical for members of the 403rd Wing as they combined job knowledge and skill with their U.S. Navy counterparts.

The 403rd's Logistics Readiness and Aerial Port squadrons were given the unique opportunity to host members of the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group's south-central battalion during a six-day training exercise.

According to Maj. Rodney McCraine, 403rd LRS commander, the exercise focused on fuels and air transportation training. It also "created opportunities for joint, logistics-focused training," he said.

The Navy Reservists came to the 403rd Wing from units in Gulfport, Miss.; Fort Worth, Texas; Springfield, Mo.; Atlanta, Ga.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

"Training in a joint environment is a good idea because that's how the nature of the U.S. military's mission is going," said Senior Chief Shaun Bowles, Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 13 member and a supervisor for the exercise. "When you go into a theater of operations, you're going to see the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army all working together so it makes sense to train together here."

Training throughout the exercise was held in sessions specifically designed to encourage Airmen and Seamen of like-minded career fields to work together on improving their skills.

"I thought the training went great," said Senior Master Sgt. Edrick Haynes, 41st APS air transportation superintendent. Haynes, along with additional 41st APS airmen, teamed with 20 of their Navy counterparts to upload trucks, move cargo pallets and practice loading pallets onto aircraft; a highline dock simulated an aircraft's cargo loading area.

As a trainer for the session, Haynes began the morning with classroom instruction before heading outside to operate the equipment. "Everyone was involved and did a great job," he said. "There was a good sense of teamwork."

Lt. Col. Mike Grubb, 41st APS commander, was on hand to witness the joint training between his Port Dawgs and their Navy counterparts. "We're hoping this leads to more training and communication with the Seabees in Gulfport," he said. "That would allow our guys to train with equipment we don't have here."

The experience with equipment goes both ways between the services.

"I've driven a forklift before, but I'm getting more experience on this type of equipment," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger Ramos, NCHB 13 logistics specialist. "This joint training is great because it's a chance to learn.

"I've never worked with the Air Force before; they're very hands-on," he said. "They give us good advice and we share what we know as well."

Overall, the training proved to be a good experience for those involved.

"Anytime you get joint programs working, you get different ways of doing business and that leads to good things happening," said Grubb. "I've spoken with several of our Airmen and they said they've enjoyed getting out here with people who talk a different language. I really appreciate the Navy coming out and working with our folks."



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