Safety, precision vital during engine running off-load
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Hot air whips around as the engine of the C-130 Hercules roars, yet Airmen assigned to the 731st Air Mobility Squadron are not deterred by the forceful winds.
These airmen are performing an engine running offload as part of the readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16.
"Being able to effectively offload cargo and personnel during an exercise or real-world mission is a vital part of what we do here at the 731st AMS," said Master Sgt. Victor Peterson 731st AMS Wing Inspection Team member. "We want to ensure we work in a timely and effective manner."
During the readiness exercise, many units including the 731st AMS, are dedicated to real-world mission requirements along with accomplishing exercise scenarios.
"We control the gateway to the peninsula and must be able to carry out our mission in a safe and effective manner," said Peterson. "Regardless of the challenges, our mission is to get these aircraft unloaded as quickly and safely as possible."
Along with loading and unloading aircraft in a safe and effective manner, these Airmen are well aware that they are the first-impression for most people who arrive on the peninsula.
"Nearly all equipment and personnel who are participating in this readiness exercise came through here and were welcomed to Korea by us," said Senior Airman Jonathan Cusanek, 731st AMS passenger service agent. "We are proud to be the first-impression and try to be as professional and helpful as possible."
Many times the mission requirements and demands mean these airmen are unable to make that impression, especially during running offloading exercises.
"During the running offload, not having to turn the engines off helps expedite the flow of cargo and passengers to achieve maximum effectiveness," said Cusanek. "This way the aircrew are able to get back in the sky faster since time is paramount during an exercise or real-world emergency situation."
Not stopping the engines means the aircrew does not have to go through multiple checklists and procedures, thus saving time and money.
"Bringing forces from across the globe to participate in the exercise is a huge responsibility and we are more than capable," said Cusanek. "This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities on a global scale."
Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces.
"A lot of these members who offload here will be working directly with Republic of Korea personnel," said Cusanek. "The partnership we have with South Korea is extremely important, and we are proud to be here and work alongside them."