Working within strict health protocols utilized by U.S. Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll, the garrison continues to receive regular provisions while its airfield crews play an active role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Aug. 14 was another safe and busy day on Bucholz Army Airfield. During the afternoon cargo offload activity, forklifts bearing towering pallets of postal freight traveled between cargo loading areas and an awaiting Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.
Working wordlessly over the roar of the engines, U.S. Air Force cargo masters wearing masks and gloves assisted airfield forklift drivers in guiding their loads to the cargo bay ramp. Once each pallet was safely on board, each was secured for flight with heavy nylon straps.
While much of the island’s freight and sundries are transported via cargo container ships, USAG-KA continues to rely on inbound flights for its supply of fresh food items, specially requisitioned items and mail.
The C-17’s arrival on Kwajalein occurred 17 months after the Republic of the Marshall Islands government instituted COVID-19 travel restrictions. Despite activity limitations posed by the lockdown, regular cargo flights have continued to safely make deliveries.
While the sun broiled the air on the flight line, logistics employees secured offloaded cargo pallets to flatbed trailers bound for the garrison post office, and ultimately, their recipients.
The crews offloaded 18,000 pounds, to be followed by an additional 6,000 pounds the following week. Those familiar with C-17 cargo capacity—a startling payload of up to 169,000 pounds—might say the shipment was of moderate size. However, it would be difficult to calculate the true weight of the mail that had arrived in numbers alone.
As postal workers unpacked and sorted the new shipment, familiar brands and logos became visible in the piles of boxes.
The packages contained clothing, equipment, sporting gear, items for the school season, furniture, appliances and snacks: the stuff of Kwaj life.
It’s just a mail delivery—but for USAG-KA, it means much more.