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NEWS | July 28, 2011

Air transportation Airmen compete for best joint inspection, in-transit visibility honors at Rodeo 2011

By Airman 1st Class Jared Trimarchi Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 Public Affairs

In a deployed environment, preparing the "beans and bullets" before being transported to the warfighter on the ground is a top priority for mobility Airmen. Two Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 aerial port competitions tested aerial porters on just that capability.

Twenty six air mobility crews from Rodeo competed in a two-part joint inspection, or JI, and in-transit visibility, or ITV, competition here, July 27, as part of Rodeo 2011. JIs required two-man teams, while ITVs required three. Though both events were done simultaneously, in non-simulated scenarios a joint inspection is the first step.

A JI is a combined effort by all military branches to visually inspect cargo when it first arrives on an installation, check for loose or damage parts and ensure it is safe to travel. The JI team documents the dimension of all pieces of equipment, follows correct procedure when handling hazardous material and corrects any discrepancies found.

"Cargo must be inspected to ensure accountability, safety of flight and its location on the aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Ricky Gouin, an umpire for the JI competition from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. "Teams make sure the cargo capacity of a plane is being used efficiently, as well. It saves the Air Force time and money when we fly cargo safely on one plane instead of splitting it into two."

According to Chief Master Sgt. Derrick Mobley, Air Mobility Command air transportation superintendent at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., the location of a certain piece of cargo is the most important aspect of the JI.

"Every piece of cargo has a different weight, and an airframe can only hold a limited amount of weight in a certain location," Mobley said. "A planes weight, to save fuel, must be centered. If there is too much weight in the front or the back of the plane, the aircraft exerts more fuel to stay leveled.

"If you hold a dumbbell off-centered, it's heavier to hold and requires more power to balance the weight," he explained.

After the JI is complete, all the data gathered is transferred to an electronic database by doing an ITV.

Master Sgt. Augustine Circello, an umpire from the 773rd Logistics Readiness Squadron out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, said, "The ITV competition incorporates having a quick-access manifest of all cargo and passengers flying by air.

"Technology and the Air Force have advanced rapidly, and we need to know where our equipment and Airmen are at all times," he said. "If we aren't sure where military assets are, it would cause a delay in our missions. Using an effective ITV a ripple effect costing an aircraft to taxi instead of flying supplies to the warfighters, is prevented."

Though the ITV event was held in a room filled with a few computers, Circello said it was an intense competition.

"ITV is an intricate system dealing with minute details regarding every person and cargo being transported," he said. "In the competition and real-world scenarios, time is against you."

Senior Airman Kevin Bolton, 60th Aerial Port Squadron participant from Travis AFB, Calif., said the event was nothing like updating an online status.

"It was harder than I anticipated," he said. "Everything was out of order and chaotic, but it was great training I can relay to my home squadron and come back to during a real-world contingency."

The events were part of Rodeo, a biennial international competition that focuses on mission readiness, featuring airdrops, aerial refueling and other events that showcase the skills of mobility crews from around the world.