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NEWS | Jan. 9, 2020

LRS Airman “flips the switch” on NWS

By Senior Airman Joshua R. Maund

 A 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airman on the Naval Weapons Station operates as the only uniformed brakeman on the Joint Base Charleston railway.

Staff Sgt. Gelisa Inniss, 628th LRS NCO in charge of ground transportation operations center NWS, is the first female active duty Airman to complete the Brakeman Switchman Course at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia in March 2019.

“During rail ops, I assist the locomotive conductors and engineers by operating the track switches that guide the locomotives and ensuring the secure connection between railcars,” said Inniss. “My job helps keep the mission going by making sure that the cargo arrives safely at its destination.”

Inniss learned how to facilitate railway operations alongside locomotive crews on the more than 30 miles of railway on the NWS. The rail system helps deliver various types of logistics like munitions and vehicles to and from storage facilities and aids in the mobilization capabilities of the base and its mission partners.

“Very few Air Force bases have an operational railway incorporated into their mission,” said Inniss. “It’s hard work but I feel like I have a hands-on part in our mission here.”

Ground transportation Airmen, like Inniss, provide mission capabilities necessary to carry out vital mobilization efforts.

“Having this opportunity is awesome and I hope one day other ground transportation Airmen also have the chance to get involved in this aspect of the job, especially after seeing how important it is when it comes to transporting logistics.”

Transporting assets by rail is just one way members of JB Charleston are able to support global mobility efforts. Service members and civilians also deliver equipment and personnel worldwide by air, land and sea.