96th Aerial Port Squadron places third in Reserve Command Competition

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

96th Aerial Port Squadron members placed 3rd overall in the biennial Air Force Reserve Command Port Dawg Challenge competition held at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, April 23-25, 2019.

The 96 APS team consisted of Master Sgt. Torreon Shirlee, Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Lawson, Tech. Sgt. Jose Vargas-Gonzalez, Airman First Class Antonio Yancy, Senior Airman Zachery Derrick, and Senior Airman Justin Khamphavong. Competition rules stated each team had to comprise of members across all enlisted tiers.

“We have a young team of new folks and those who haven’t deployed,” said Shirlee, team chief. “I’m proud of their hard work and placing third speaks to their performance. Our skills are well rounded and we consistently performed well across all of the events.”

The contest is a chance for teams of air transportation specialist across the command to put their skills to the test through 12 grueling events. This year, teams from U.S. active duty, National Guard, and the Royal Air Force contributed teams to square off for the coveted trophy.

“Aerial porters are a critical component to the airlift mission,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Womack. “We just welcomed home many of folks from various deployments downrange. They can attest to the capabilities we bring to the fight and how this competition improves our overall readiness.”

The competition included engine running off/on load, 25K Halvorsen loader and 10K forklift obstacle courses, joint inspections, load planning effectiveness, pallet build up, passenger and cargo processing, cargo restraint, air terminal command and control functions, fitness challenge, and a comprehensive knowledge test.

“Take all the pointers and mentorship from the umpires this week,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lonnie Patchen, AFRC aerial port career field functional manager, aerial transportation career field manager. “Take the information back and pass it down to everyone in your unit. We are a critical part of the mission and what we do ultimately supports the warfighters.”

The air transportation specialists are known as “Port Dawgs” and provide logistical functions such as processing passengers, planning, building, and loading cargo for military aircraft.

The Air Force Reserve is a lethal, combat-ready force, providing critical capabilities both at home and abroad.