McChord Airmen boost American Embassy in Jordan
By Tech. Sgt. Michael Mason, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 24, 2019
In a small non-descript building on a Royal Jordanian Air Force flight line sits a vital piece of American diplomacy. Inside, three Airmen, from the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron (62nd APS), work with Akram Al Ramone, a Jordanian who works as Lead Foreign Service National, Port Ops, for the U.S. State Department and splits his time between an office in the U.S. Embassy-Amman and a desk in the team’s office. Together they provide logistics for the State Department’s embassy to Jordan’s regional diplomacy mission through airlift movements.
Al Ramone handles the documentation and scheduled delivery of all military equipment transfers from the U.S. to Jordan that come through the port. The team knows that every pallet of equipment they load onto a Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) truck increases the compatibility and joint capabilities between the JAF and U.S. military for future partnered operations.
The Airmen, Master Sgt. Chester Moore, Tech. Sgt. Kyle Hersel and Staff Sgt. Tony Bellow, from the 62nd APS on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, are on a six-month assignment through the Joint Expeditionary Tasking / Individual Augmentee Program, or JET/IA. This program allows the Air Force to fill partner agency requirements by matching up positional requests with qualified Airmen. Upon creating the program, ret. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in 2008 “JET reinforces the Air Force’s commitment to the joint fight as an equal member of the joint team,” and the program continues to renew those efforts across the world.
In this instance, the embassy needed aerial porters, and Moore’s team stepped up. Without the traditional Air Force Installation support system for operations and personnel issues, they managed to find a way to solve any problem that came up and figured things out on-the-fly. Their efforts earned them the 387th Air Expeditionary Group Team of the Month award for August 2019.
During the team’s time in country, they handled more than 3,000 passenger movements and 438 tons of cargo across 370 missions. They were also a primary logistics hub for Exercise Eager Lion, U.S. Forces Central Command’s largest exercise with 30 nation partner forces and 8,000 participants. The exercise was an opportunity to integrate forces in a multilateral environment, operate in realistic terrain and strengthen military-to-military relationships. Handling the aerial logistics for Eager Lion was a challenge, but Moore said it would be his favorite memory from this trip.
“The hardest part of the assignment was adjusting to driving,” Hersel said. “Every day was a new experience and adventure, and working with the Jordanians was amazing. It’s a beautiful country full of history and amazing sights but getting use to the differences in traffic took a while.”
When not at the airfield, the team lives in an apartment due to their distance from any military installation. This gives them the opportunity to really experience what Jordan is like every day, but wasn’t without its challenges.
“Living on the economy drove invaluable cultural understanding for me,” Moore said. “In my daily interactions, I found the Jordanians to be very welcoming to guests like us. This assignment truly was one of the best in my career.”
Not a shy person, his co-workers said Moore talks to everyone, and in doing so, he had the opportunity to experience a unique assignment and took his role as an ambassador of the United States to heart. From stopping on his way to eat and talking to the parking attendant and asking about his family to conversations at the checkout when buying groceries, he’s enjoying his time and he’s not alone. Hersel said the assignment has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.