Surface cargo produces sharp Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
A drop of sweat falls from an Airman's forehead and quickly mixes with a light layer of sawdust that accumulates over a pair of protective goggles. With one wipe of his gloves, his lenses are clear, and he is back to work hours before lunch.

For some Airmen the constant sound of screeching table saws and firing nail guns can serve as a better jump start to the morning than even a cup of coffee. The Airmen of the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron surface cargo section here are hard at work at all hours of the day.

The mission of the 30th LRS is to provide the 30th Space Wing and supporting agencies with logistic expertise and acts as a central receiving and shipping point for all cargo entering and leaving Vandenberg. It all starts at the morning meeting.

"Every morning we form up before the work day begins," said Airman 1st Class Melanie Solley, a traffic management apprentice with the 30th LRS.

This is called "Morning stand up", she said. "During morning stand up the section chief delivers a motivational speech before releasing his Airmen to the demands of the day.

The section chief takes accountability and asks each Airman what their plans are for the day."

"We are always practicing safety," she said. "Anytime someone is operating the forklift or is working in the saw room, we make sure they are wearing the proper protective equipment."

Airmen with the 30th LRS can be frequently seen donning ear plugs, goggles and gloves throughout the day. As a safety precaution, sleeves are always rolled up when Airmen are using the saws, Airman Solley said.

"There is always training going on," she said. "There is a lot of hands-on training, but we also get into the regulations a lot as well."

Every Wednesday and Friday the 30th LRS has mandatory training at the end of the work day. The NCOs and supporting management of surface cargo take training seriously to ensure their Airman are up-to-date with procedures and the proper safety precautions to protect the Air Force's mobile assets.

"Our unit works really hard," Airman Solley said. "We strive for excellence in all that we do here every day by working as a team."

That excellence is highlighted by the fact that the 30th LRS has moved approximately 2,000 pieces of cargo since January and is projected to have shipped more than a million pounds of cargo over the course of this year. The outbound section is able to move Air Force assets almost anywhere in the world, utilizing air, land and sea modes of transportation.

"If an Airman, Soldier, Sailor or Marine needs 250,000 sandbags to fortify a forward operating base in Afghanistan, we can get it there," said Tech. Sgt. Forrest Chambers, the NCO-in charge of surface cargo with the 30th LRS.

Besides moving supplies worldwide, the 30th LRS performs safety inspections on trucks containing chemical hazards as well as explosive hazards prior to base entry.

Also, the packing and preservation section provides construction of specialized shipping containers and crates using a large array of woodworking equipment and hand tools.

"The 30th LRS surface cargo section hasn't had a challenge we couldn't meet," Sergeant Chambers said.

The Airmen of the 30th LRS know how vital their role is to the mission of Air Force as they proudly step into their jumpsuits and equip the proper safety precautions, all before the morning sun can make its way over the horizon.