Port Dawgs train on TSA procedures
By Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor, 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 15, 2015
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- We have all been to civilian airports, where we have to stand in line to go through security checkpoints and get our bags checked in. Sometimes, we may get frustrated by the long wait times, but we wouldn't be able to make it to our destinations without the men and women who are tasked with making trips as safe as possible.
This is what the Reservists of the 72nd Aerial Port Squadron do at Tinker Air Force Base.
The 72nd APS is in charge of loading Airmen and cargo onto military aircraft, such as on space available flights. They also handle the pre-flight briefings and conduct security checks and follow the same procedures as the Transportation Security Administration.
For Reservists tasked to travel, they may not always have the chance to see what the 72nd APS has to do to make sure they board the plane safely.
"When the operation is conducted, it's a brilliant art to watch," said Master Sgt. Brett Neeley, the non-commissioned officer-in-charge of Passenger Service for the 72nd APS. "It's really a dynamic process."
In order for these Airmen to complete the tasks of loading and unloading flights, they must go through extensive training that includes learning how to operate stair steppers and baggage conveyers, along with forklifts to load cargo. They also have to maintain TSA policies, which can change very quickly.
"TSA training happens every drill, because we realize policies could change," said Neeley. "With our personnel coming out two days a month, we want to keep that fresh in their minds."
With all of the training that is being conducted, there also comes a time standard where things have to be accomplished. While meeting time is The 507th Air Refueling Wing important, the balance comes in when discussing safety.
"We try to meet our times, but we will not compromise safety for our personnel or the aircraft," said Neeley.
As is the case with most Reservists, there is a lot to learn in a short amount of time. "The goal is when the Airmen leave from UTA weekends, we want them to leave thinking they accomplished a lot," said Neeley. "If they don't, then we failed them as NCOICs."
At the end, the goal is to make sure the Reservists can use the training for the military and beyond.
"The training is not only for the Air Force, but it's necessary for the member's growth as they progress in their own careers outside of the Air Force," said Neeley. "It's about how they can capture the information they learned to make themselves more marketable on the outside."