The magic of logistics

I remember going to Disney World as a kid. At that moment it was the trip of a lifetime. The castle, the Disney characters, the rides (even the merry-go-round) seemed larger than life. When you’re only 7-years-old, everything looks gigantic.

When I went back as an adult just a few years ago, I was kind of disappointed. Everything seemed “normal.” I didn’t think I’d ever get that feeling of witnessing something larger-than-life again.

Then, the day of the main-body deployment departure to Japan arrived. I spent the day helping to set up sound equipment for the briefing. I was assigned to take photos of the cargo-plane as it was getting loaded, but the briefing started and before long I was informed I’d missed that opportunity. Rather than sulking, I decided to stick my head out the back door of the hangar to see if there was any other action I could capture before the Airmen started departing.

When I poked my head outside, I had that same rush come back to me. As I stared at that C-5 on our flightline, I felt like I was at Disney World again. I didn’t have the opportunity to walk inside of it, but our Airmen did and I got a picture of them (so you can see the size comparison). When I say this plane was big, I mean ginormous (and yes, I know that’s not a real word).

1st Lt. Angela Archiquette filled me in a bit on the logistics side of the deployment. She said once the amount of cargo we’d need overseas was decided, then they determined what type of AMC Aircraft would be able to lift it.

The C-5 was one of the options they chose, however with some technical difficulties with the plane itself – not all the cargo that needed to go could be loaded into it. When this was discovered, our Logistics Support Squadron was put back to work to figure out what plane we’d need and how we were going to get the rest of our cargo to Japan, if it was still needed there.

The LRS crew ended up loading a total of two Cx17s, a C-5 and a Boeing 767 in those frigid temperatures I talked about a couple weeks ago. They were also responsible for reviewing all 255 members to ensure they were deployment eligible, they weighed and built baggage pallets, and ensured all the passengers were correctly manifested for their flights.

The LRS team did a ton more than that, but again – I don’t want to bore you with all the facts. Just know they worked hard to get our Airmen overseas on-time.

All the Facebook posts that have been running through my personal newsfeed tell me this Japan deployment may be the trip of a lifetime for those who deployed. Another advantage to the Air National Guard – a chance to see the world (which is even cooler than Disney World – don’t tell Mickey!)

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About Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode

Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode is a photojournalist for the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wisconsin.