Aerial port, airlift control flight create synergy at Patriot Hook

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jake Chappelle
  • 446 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A total of 34 Reservists from the 86th Aerial Port Squadron and the 446th Airlift Control Flight participated in Patriot Hook 2008 at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. May 14-19.

Patriot Hook was created by the 452nd ALCF at March ARB. It's an annual exercise which focuses on setting up real world scenarios so different for different military career fields and other government agencies can work together and apply their training in preparation for deployments.

"The chance to work missions with other units outside of our normal scope of operations is invaluable," said Master Sgt. Shannon Mehalik, the 86th Aerial Port Squadron NCO in charge of the air terminal operations center. "We did joint inspections on many FBI and Federal Emergency Management Agency vehicles that are different than the ones we normally work with."

The 86th APS performed flawlessly, said Sergeant Mehalik. They moved 194 passengers and more than 73 tons of cargo on 12 types of aircraft, including C-5s, C-17s and KC-135s. There were no safety mishaps or delays attributed to the aerial port.
"We are fortunate to have a great supervisory staff," said Airman 1st Class Cesar Morales, an 86th APS air freight specialist. "The training was invaluable because of the leadership that was provided. This trip turned out to be more than I expected. I will never forget it." 

"Knowing you can deploy and work with units and equipment that you have never seen and still be able to effectively perform the mission together, is definitely a great experience," said Master Sgt. Anthony Mehalik, the 86th APS NCOIC of load planning.

In addition to getting to train with outside units, five members from 86th APS were able to receive upgrade training, said Sergeant S. Mehalik. They also got a chance to work with the 446th ALCF again.

"This exercise provides good training for the aircrews, the aerial port and airfield operators," said Maj. John Wood, an airfield operations officer with the 446th ALCF. "In most cases, it's only one unit that reaps the benefits of the training. In this case, everybody received the proper training."

"It went well," said Major Wood. "We solved the obstacles that would have prevented the operation from continuing. Any given deployment will have numerous challenges such as, aircrew scheduling, weather or control tower issues. We're there to facilitate and solve those problems."

Exercises like Patriot Hook allow the military and government agencies to apply and receive training to prepare for mobilizations.