Colombian, U.S. loadmasters and aerial porters exchange ideas
By Tech. Sgt. Lesley Waters, 621st Contingency Response Wing public affairs
/ Published June 15, 2012
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron aerial port and loadmaster team conducted several seminars with the Colombian air force, enhancing each other's logistical capabilities during the first week of an Air Mobility Command's Building Partner Capacity mission, at Commando Aéreo de Transporte Militar, Bogota, Colombia, June 4-8.
The purpose of the month-long BPC mission is designed to promote regional stability by fostering key relationships and enhancing partner nation capabilities and prepare the Colombian air force to participate in this year's Red Flag, at Nellis AFB, Nev., July 16-27. In addition, the mission of the squadron, based out of Travis AFB, Calif., supports the 12th Air Force's (Air Forces Southern) continued engagements in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility of Latin America and the Caribbean.
"The Colombian air force has the foundation for an effective transportation system," said Staff Sgt. Angel Ortega, 571st MSAS aerial port air advisor. "We focused on improving that system, and at the same time learning from the Colombians in various areas. This way the Colombian air force can get their assets and supplies where they need to in a timely and efficient manner, especially with their participation in Red Flag for the first time."
Red Flag exist for the sole purpose to better prepare and train coalition and partner nation armed forces. Each Red Flag exercise normally involves a variety of interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft.
MSAS aerial port and loadmaster air advisors focused on interactive classroom seminars and hands-on exchanges to include aircraft load planning, equipment preparation and tie-down procedures.
Additionally, the air advisors and Colombian air force members exchanged ideas on the importance of proper weighing and marking, to include a hands-on weighing and marking practical on the flightline. They also discussed examples of past mishaps and ways to prevent any future mishaps.
Staff Sgt. Peter Salinas, 571st MSAS aerial port advisor, led a seminar on cargo restraint, specifically on chain bridles, which consists of chains and devices.
"Members of the Colombian air force truly appreciated the safety offered by our cargo restraint methods," Salinas said. "One such method is the "chain bridle" which provides up to 15,000 pounds of restraint and is used to secure large single items to 463L pallets."
"The methods and instructions were very clear," said Técnico Jefe Alejandro Sanchez, Colombian air force and class leader. "The air advisors have experience and provided clarity in all the themes they provided. All the information was useful, to include the documents provided."
The aircraft load planning seminars were successful in demonstrating to the Colombian air force new methods on how to safely plan and execute a cargo mission. The air advisors reemphasized the information during the classroom seminar hands on portion, where the Colombian air force members used handouts and cut out cargo templates and safely load planned the cargo.
"The immediate goal for the FAC (Colombian air force) is to meet the challenges of the Red Flag Exercise," said Staff Sgt. Javier Borges, 571st MSAS loadmaster air advisor. "The long term goal is the implementation of the information provided, customized to meet their needs."