JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —
Under a rainy midnight sky, members of the 305th Aerial Port Squadron practiced loading cargo onto a blacked-out C-17 Globemaster III with the assistance of night vision goggles here, Nov. 30, 2017.
The training, designed to mimic reality in a deployed environment, provided porters the skills required to load and unload aircraft safely under the cover of darkness.
“This is important training for us because we routinely send our troops out on deployments to hostile areas,” said 305th APS Operations Officer U.S. Air Force Capt. Edward Verdecanna. “We may have to perform operations in blacked-out situations.”
Directing each other with hushed verbal commands and infrared chemical lights invisible to the naked eye, the aerial transporters rehearsed and performed safe loading and unloading procedures of a large pallet of supplies in almost complete darkness.
“It’s very important to be able to work in the mask of the night.” Said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ileana Romo, 305th APS unit training supervisor. “We are safer when our operations aren’t being seen by any hostile individuals in the austere places we may be going to work.”
The ability to perform their duties in extremely low-light situations is just another tool aerial transporters can use to contribute to rapid global mobility in all conditions.
“The most important thing about the training is providing our aerial transporters with the most realistic environment possible and the most adverse conditions we can create here at home to better prepare them for when they will have to on and off-load aircraft in complete blackout conditions with the engines running – potentially under hostile fire,” said Verdecanna. “If they become used to the constraints of working with NVGs here in a location we can control, they will be much more likely to succeed in a safe fashion and return to us safely when they’re overseas.”