OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- While all eyes were on the world’s stage, U.S. Air Force logisticians helped pave the way for the successful execution of the second U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea summit held in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 27-28, 2019.
From preparing, processing, manifesting and certifying hazardous material to creating load plans and securing diplomatic clearances for the cargo, 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen were essential to the transportation of four staircase trucks and four R11 fuel trucks in support of Air Force One.
“Every time the president moves, he needs this equipment to follow him so he can move – thanks to the fuel, and download off the aircraft – thanks to the staircase truck,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Sims, 51st LRS airlift support function supervisor. “The cargo wouldn’t go anywhere if we weren’t around.”
With only a week to coordinate between Osan, Kunsan, Suwon and Kadena Air Bases, the Airmen were charged with receiving and loading the eight vehicles in a manner that wouldn’t cause an imbalance in any of the aircraft.
Thanks to the vehicles’ status as war reserve materiel, which meant they had been in storage, a few minor issues arose: a truck that wouldn’t start, electrical systems that needed to be serviced, and an excess of fuel that needed to be drained before the trucks could be loaded were only a few of these. Once these were dealt with, however, the actual loading process took only about an hour.
“There are a lot of moving parts that make the mobility machine work,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Burger, 51st LRS noncommissioned officer in charge of outbound cargo. “Any time there’s cargo that needs to be mobilized to or from Osan, we’re the people that do it.”
Thanks to the hard work of the 51st LRS Airmen, key U.S. leaders were able to focus on achieving peace in the region without having to worry about the logistics of travel.