May 4th, 2006 12:41 EST
Guam reservists support cargo hub at Incirlik
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFPN) -- Twelve reservists temporarily assigned to the 728th Air Mobility Squadron had to travel a long, long way from home to get here.
The Airmen, who are with the Air Force Reserve Command's 44th Aerial Port Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, traveled more than 72 hours to participate in a four-month TDY here supporting the cargo hub’s mission.
“We work in ramp services, setting up loads of cargo onto 747, C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, C-130 Hercules and L-100 Hercules aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Luis Cabuhat, 728th AMS load planner and team chief.
The cargo is then sent downrange to bases that need supplies. Incirlik has moved more than 75,000 tons of cargo in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since the hub stood up almost one year ago.
“We simply could not perform our mission without the support of our citizen Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Chris Kulas, 728th AMS commander. “All the reservist volunteers bring with them a wealth of experience and camaraderie."
All the team members serving at Incirlik were volunteers for this deployment.
“Some of our guys have put on staff (sergeant stripes), but a lot of them do not have the training,” said Staff Sgt. John Mabayag, 44th APS ramp services. “That is why we came here, to receive training, so that when we get home and when it comes time to step up we don’t have to worry. The majority of us are ramp (services) so whatever we learn here, we can pass on to each other.
“This is totally different from our job back home (as firefighters),” he said. “We volunteered to come here, we wanted to do this. This is my first deployment ever and I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here.”
“This is a new environment for us. We come from an island so we don’t see too much countryside or mountains,” said Senior Airman Melvin Hernandez, 44th APS ramp services. “It’s good to have this experience.”
“I like the way the Turkish nationals are so friendly,” Sergeant Cabuhat said. “Some of them have taken us to their houses to have supper with them and they’ve taken us on some tours.”
One thing the group from Guam had to get used to was the weather here.
“We come from a tropical island, so 60 degrees for me personally is pretty chilly,” Sergeant Mabayag said. “When we first got here in February it was 32 degrees and when we stepped off the plane we were all shivering.”
Another Reserve group from Guam will come to Incirlik in June to work at the cargo hub.