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437 APS hosts Patriot Partner Exercises for reservists

By Airman Melissa Harper | 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs | March 29, 2007

CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — Aerial port reservists from various units and bases come together two weeks every year to train at Charleston AFB as part of the Patriot Partner Exercises. 

Patriot Partner Exercises are designed for reservists to partially take-over an active-duty aerial port for training purposes as an annual tour. 

This year, reservists from five units participated in the program here from March 11 to 23.
"We were very busy, but it was a great annual tour for these reservists to train here," said Staff Sgt. Martin Childs, 437th Aerial Port Squadron reserve coordinator. 

Nearly 500 active-duty 437 APS Airmen and civilians combined with 136 reservists from the 53rd Aerial Port Squadron of Pope AFB, N.C., the 69th Aerial Port Squadron of Andrews AFB, Md., the 74th Aerial Port Squadron of Lackland AFB, Texas, the 85th Aerial Port Squadron of Hansom AFB, Maine, and the 88th Aerial Port Squadron of McGuire AFB, N.J. 

"It was a total force integration, which was a rewarding opportunity for the reservists and active-duty Airmen at Charleston AFB to work together," said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Olive, 437 APS reserve coordinator. 

This year, planning for the program started three months ago with senior leadership from each squadron. The planning involved decisions about which individuals would work in which section, shift schedules, team leaders for each flight and training needs. 

"All of the extra manpower was awesome while both groups worked together to fulfill the same mission," said Sergeant Olive. "It also helped us get the work done easier while it helped them to brush-up on their skills at the same time." 

During the two-week period, the aerial port moved 776 passengers, 3,955 cargo tons and handled 316 aircraft. 

The reservists were scheduled for 12-hour shifts every day to support the aerial ports' 24-hour operations. 

They were integrated into four flights, for passenger service, fleet service, aircraft services and air terminal operations. 

"It was surprising how so many different people were mixed together so quickly for this short amount of time with minimal conflicts," said Sergeant Olive. "They truly worked together as a team to perform real-world operations. This training was also a learning experience for some of our Airmen stationed here as they got to work side-by-side with some of reservists who have years of experience." 

"Charleston AFB was really helpful with all of their coordination and cooperation," said Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Hall, 53 APS operations superintendent. "The active-duty members were very receptive and we received great hospitality. They were also proactive with helping to train the reservists." 

The reservists were provided with housing by base billeting and other housing accommodations were made when necessary. 

"Base billeting, the dining facility and other base facilities were very accommodating toward our needs to make this tour as smooth as possible," said Chief Hall.
The reservists concluded the two-week training with an end-of-tour luncheon at the Charleston Club March 23 before they returned to their civilian lives.