NEWS | Aug. 8, 2012

437th APS makes baggage detail easier

By Senior Airman Dennis Sloan Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The 437th Aerial Port Squadron baggage claim service team, at the passenger terminal, recently upgraded their baggage bins from weathered wooden bins to steel bins for transporting military member's baggage from and to aircraft.

The team moves all baggage of deploying and returning military members here at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, which means they can move hundreds of bags a day.

"We support several units on this base when they deploy," said Master Sgt. Serge Ladd, 437th APS passenger service noncommissioned officer in charge. "When the units deploy, they sometimes use commercial aircraft, which requires us to store the baggage underneath the belly of the aircraft, and getting it there used to be a hassle before the arrival of the new steel bins."

The new steel bins reduce the process of moving baggage to and from aircraft by an hour and are easier to use, since they were specifically built for the job. The bins also carry more bags than the previous wooden bins.

"The older bins had to be built-up and broken-down every time we used them, and they were not in the best condition having been exposed to the elements throughout the years," said Ladd. "The new steel bins don't require build-up or break-down and they're easier to get in and out of when the Airmen are loading them with baggage."

The project to replace the older wooden bins began December 2011.

Ladd researched the internet to see what type of bins were available, but all he found were plastic bins that would likely break and require replacement often. He then decided to create a blue print of a steel bin with a gate on the front for the Airmen to get in and out of when necessary.

"We needed something durable and since we were going to purchase new ones, I made sure these bins would be versatile and last a long time," said Ladd.

After the 628th Contracting Squadron awarded the bid to a local steel company, the 437th APS team received the bins late last month.

"Since there is no build-up or break-down involved when using the new steel bins, the process of moving baggage requires less people," said Staff Sgt. Trevor Miles, 437th APS passenger service facility manager.

The bins have attracted the attention of Air Mobility Command APS inspectors, said Ladd.

"We recently had AMC APS inspectors down here looking at the bins and they were so impressed they asked for blueprints of the bins," said Ladd. "It is possible the bins we created here may be used AMC-wide and even Air Force-wide, if leadership sees fit."

The overall cost of replacing the weathered wooden bins and replacing them with the five new steel bins cost approximately $10,000.

"These new bins have increased efficiency, reduced the amount of manpower needed to perform baggage detail and have made the process safer, so I couldn't be any happier," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Schultz, 437th APS Passenger Terminal superintendent.