RAF Mildenhall, England -- --
The 727th Air Mobility Squadron Air Freight Office at RAF Mildenhall, England, serves a pivotal role in delivering mission-critical assets to the warfighter through their loading and unloading of cargo.
The cargo processed by the air freight office occupies one of three stages: arrival, departure, or temporary storage in their warehouse. The method by which each item comes in and goes out varies.
“We have unloading and loading operations for trucks,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Straczuk, 727th AMS air transportation journeyman. “We also deal with aircraft, so we have to load and unload them and process the cargo that comes off. Anytime we check in cargo, we categorize items by their destination, priority and time in port.”
The office is divided into general cargo and special handling, with each section overseeing a different part of the air freight mission.
“Our general cargo section not only deals with downloading trucks coming in from the traffic management office and nearby locations, but our staff also loads the aircraft and makes sure the load plan for that aircraft is weighted and balanced properly,” said Tech. Sgt. Melissa Durkin-Willman, 727th AMS passenger travels noncommissioned officer in charge. “Our special handling section deals with making sure anything that is hazardous, signature service or registered mail is properly accounted for and moved forward.”
From bullets to aircraft engines, the air freight office processes a variety of assets.
“Weapons, ammunition, explosives - we’ll ship pretty much anything that can fit on an aircraft,” Straczuk said. “It could be as small as a screw to as big as an engine.”
Some shipments are more urgent than others, requiring a higher priority and air transportation Airmen to be available to process cargo at any time.
“We supply high-priority cargo that needs to get places,” said Senior Airman Hocain Grant, 727th AMS air transportation journeyman. “We could get called in at any hour of the day depending on what it’s for because our schedule is dictated by mission requirements.”
The Airmen of the air freight office are often busy moving cargo between their warehouse and aircraft on the flight line, yet the importance of what they accomplish isn’t lost on them.
“We can ship pretty much any size piece of cargo anywhere in the world,” Straczuk said. “We’re leaders in rapid global mobility.”