HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, conducted joint air load operations training with Airmen from the 9th Airlift Squadron, 436th Airlift Wing, May 2, 2022 at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.
The joint training spanned over four days and started with Soldiers going through a pallet-building class. This class allowed Soldiers to learn how to build pallets and package gear for transport on the aircrafts.
The Soldiers worked alongside the U.S. Air Force, learning how to weigh, load and strap down Army rotary winged aircraft inside of a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft.
“This training ensures that the joint forces are ready to safely and efficiently load equipment onto an Air Mobility Command aircraft,” said Airman First Class Daniel Jones, a student loadmaster assigned to the 9th Airlift Squadron, 436th Airlift Wing. “Teamwork is definitely one of the most important parts of this training.”
The training allowed for Soldiers and Airmen from all levels to work together, from pallet-building classes to learning how to properly secure cargo inside of an aircraft.
To execute the joint air load operations training, the 436th Airlift Wing employed the Expeditionary Air Ground Liaison Element, the Air Mobility Command and U.S. Transportation Command’s enlisted operation extension of Air Mobility Liaison Officers.
“The EAGLE program is a newer program that allows us to come out to multinational locations and help prepare cargo and documentation for airlift in accordance with any training or real-world deployments,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Strecker, a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster and an EAGLE team chief. “We’re able to speed up the airlift process and it allows us to impart some Air Force knowledge into Army units.”
The EAGLE program was implemented in October 2019 and consists of loadmasters, in-flight refuelers, flight attendants and air transportation specialists that assist in cargo preparation.
“When you combine all these jobs into one program, you have knowledge in every skill set required for airlift operations,” said Strecker. “That helps us bridge the gap between our teams we send out and allows us to bring specialty knowledge to Army units.”
Army Soldiers worked and coordinated alongside their Air Force counterparts in planning and strategizing all the moving pieces. From the senior NCOs and officers coordinating movement and logistics, to junior personnel loading equipment, the training fostered interoperability among branches and increased readiness to go anywhere the nation requires.
“It’s extremely important to train air load operations,” said Spc. Gerardine Cabral, an avionics mechanic assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB, 3rd ID. “ If we need to rapidly respond and deploy somewhere, we have to be ready for whatever mission comes our way.”