Competing to be top ‘Dawg’ in Pacific

  • Published
  • By Jerry R. Bynum
  • 624th Regional Support Group
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – U.S. Air Force Reserve members of the 48th Aerial Port Squadron, which is part of the 624th Regional Support Group here, was one of eight teams to participate during the Hickam Port Dawg Challenge sponsored by the 735th Air Mobility Squadron here Nov. 17.

The five-event challenge, which included aircraft loading, passenger and equipment processing, forklift operations, a pallet buildup and a combat fitness challenge, is designed to bring together the U.S. Air Force aerial port community in the Pacific to promote professionalism, and demonstrate air and space expeditionary force capabilities.

“These types of challenges provide our Airmen with an opportunity to see what other units are doing and help reinforce their skills,” said Capt. Elbert Laza, 624th RSG executive officer. “This competition exposes them to teamwork and helps them strive to emulate those who are highly experienced in the transportation career field.”

The 48th APS put together a Reserve Citizen Airmen team of first-time participants for the challenge. The team included Airman 1st Classes John Bonilla, Chanel Carvalho, Allen Lai and Michael Pham, Senior Airman Kevin Fuentes, and Staff Sgt. Kapiliponoikealohala Hanohano who was the team chief for the event. They managed to finish first during the passenger and equipment processing part of the challenge.

“It was great to see some of our Airmen who are new to the career field get out there and compete,” said Chief Master Sgt. George Silva III, 48th APS operations superintendent. “They did really well considering most of the team recently completed technical training. This challenge demonstrates to them how much they’ve learned in such a short period of time.”

An APS operates and provides the military logistical functions assigned to aerial ports. Functions include processing personnel and cargo, preparing air cargo and load plans, loading equipment, and loading and securing aircraft. Aerial port Airmen typically have transportation related career fields and tend to refer to themselves as “aerial porters,” or “port dawgs.”

Members of the 735th Air Mobility Squadron on “Team PAX” here took the overall “Top Dawg” award for this year’s challenge. The 48th APS ended up finishing in the middle of the pack.

“At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team and working to accomplish the same mission,” said Silva. “Any opportunity to get together to improve what we do is a win for everyone.”