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Defense Courier Station Mildenhall: linchpin for delivery of sensitive material

Staff Sgt. Isaac Darko and Staff Sgt. Isaac Portocarrero, Defense Courier Station Mildenhall defense couriers, load packages into a mission vehicle at RAF Mildenhall, England, June 2, 2020. Factors such as the size of the asset and delivery destination dictate the mode of transportation defense couriers use to move items. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Staff Sgt. Isaac Darko and Staff Sgt. Isaac Portocarrero, Defense Courier Station Mildenhall defense couriers, load packages into a mission vehicle at RAF Mildenhall, England, June 2, 2020. Factors such as the size of the asset and delivery destination dictate the mode of transportation defense couriers use to move items. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Staff Sgt. Isaac Darko, left, Defense Courier Station Mildenhall defense courier, and Tech. Sgt. Raul Pedroza, right, DCS Mildenhall noncommissioned officer in charge, review asset information with a customer at RAF Mildenhall, England, June 2, 2020. Defense couriers oversee the processing, storage and transportation of sensitive materials. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Staff Sgt. Isaac Darko, left, Defense Courier Station Mildenhall defense courier, and Tech. Sgt. Raul Pedroza, right, DCS Mildenhall noncommissioned officer in charge, review asset information with a customer at RAF Mildenhall, England, June 2, 2020. Defense couriers oversee the processing, storage and transportation of sensitive materials. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF Mildenhall, England --

The Defense Courier Station Mildenhall at RAF Mildenhall, England, ensures classified and sensitive shipments are securely delivered to customers throughout the United Kingdom.  

As one of the global locations, the Mildenhall station relies on the work of its defense couriers to transport various high-priority items. 

“We don’t know specifically what we transport, but we do know it’s some of the nation’s most sensitive assets,” said Master Sgt. Kosiasko Sullivan, DCS Mildenhall station chief.

The station’s customers include squadrons at Team Mildenhall, as well as entities throughout the U.K. 

“We have customers here, at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Croughton. A lot of them are communications and intelligence squadrons, but some U.K. customers as well,” Sullivan said. “Additionally, we deliver material for forces afloat, which are our Navy brethren that come into port here in the U.K. We can transport material up to the ship for their missions.”

The station conducted approximately 125 missions in fiscal year 2019, delivering around 41,000 pounds of material to U.S. government and allied organizations. The station’s flexibility in the transportation they use is one factor behind their effectiveness. 

“The size of the material will sometimes dictate whether or not we drive or fly,” said Tech. Sgt. Brock Anderson, DCS Mildenhall operations noncommissioned officer in charge. “We do have missions that we fly on which go to some of our other DCS stations. If we can’t move it by ground, we will go by air.”

The DCS’s reliability can also be attributed to the safeguards the division has instituted.

“In the defense courier division, we use the two-person concept,” Anderson said. “Any time we touch, handle or do any paperwork associated with the material, two couriers have to be present for the sake of protection of the equipment.” 

Defense couriers are special duty positions filled by NCOs. The field accepts applicants from every Air Force specialty code, and individuals who are selected typically serve one, two or three-year duties at a DCS. 

“It’s a great learning opportunity,” Sullivan said. “The impact you have on the mission I believe is felt firsthand. You’re delivering critical material to whatever mission it is that you’re supporting.”