Airmen of the 721st Aerial Port Squadron broke a new record for the highest allowable cargo load for a commercial aircraft July 27.
Braving the summer heat, Airmen of the 721 APS loaded 120 tons of construction material onto a Boeing 747.
“We normally get 100 tons on each 747 freighter mission, and most aerial ports don’t even come close to using all that weight,” said Dean Noe, 721 APS air terminal manager. “We asked the carrier if we can have room to go over our maximum allowable load. They told us ‘yes’ after doing their calculations.
“There are a lot of times in the aerial ports where some of the cargo comes in already palletized, but this cargo here all came in loose,” Noe added. “Our guys offloaded the trucks and built every pallet from start to finish. I’m really proud of all of them.”
Between July 25 and 30, the Airmen of the 721 APS planned to load a collective 240 tons of cargo destined for customers in U.S. Central Command using two B-747s and one C-17 Globemaster III.
Senior Airman Juan Calderon, 721 APS ramp services specialist, expressed pride in his teammates and squadron for their record-breaking movement.
“It’s not an everyday thing that we do, so it’s a privilege,” Calderon said. “Everyone was assigned a task to do, and everyone did it correctly in an orderly manner. We got everything done safely. I feel like I can trust them in whatever they do. If I ask them to do something, I can trust them no matter what.”
An urgent need for construction material led the Airmen to expedite the mission.
“We had agencies from three CENTCOM locations put in requisitions for this cargo, and it was important enough that it needed to get through as soon as possible,” Noe said. “That’s why it went by airlift. We had a time limit too; our headquarters scheduled the airlift that week. So we had to build these pallets and also build the cargo for the other locations that we fly to. Our guys got them all built in time. It was an awesome job watching our Airmen all work together.”