Nellis air terminal provides Red Flag 15-3 support

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
When traveling, most people spend their time thinking about the upcoming adventure, chatting with their family or friends, or playing fun travel games to pass the time. Rarely do people think about the logistics of traveling, such as what maintenance is required to get the aircraft into the air or how luggage and equipment gets from one location to another.

The 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron air terminal processed 319,000 pounds of cargo and 790 military personnel just over the weekend leading into Red Flag 15-3 at Nellis Air Force Base.

During Red Flag exercises, Airmen from the air terminal, logistics, vehicle operations and supply sections form the Nellis Support Center. The NSC takes care of all the Red Flag participants by in processing them and ensuring they have lodging and transportation.

"The Nellis Support Center gives us a breakdown on what type of cargo we have to download and what we can expect when Red Flag kicks off," said Tech. Sgt. Walter Hetherington, 99th LRS air terminal NCO in charge. "Every unit that comes to Red Flag needs to bring their own support with them."

The air terminal downloads, uploads, performs joint inspections, and manifests all passengers and cargo that is transported by air in and out of Nellis AFB during Red Flag.

"Red Flag doesn't have much impact on the job itself," said Staff Sgt. William Broughton, 99th LRS air terminal supervisor. "We still perform our day-to-day operations, just on a much larger scale, with longer hours."

Talking with aircrews and asking for space-available flight slots are just one of many tasks that the air terminal does on a daily basis.

"Our normal day-to-day mission is to check the schedules, see what cargo is inbound and gear up the right personnel and the material handling equipment for that job," said Hetherington. "That way when the aircraft lands we know what's on it and what equipment we need to get it downloaded and make sure the aircraft departs here on time."

Before any unit can leave Red Flag, they need to have a joint inspection performed on their aircraft and cargo.

"We'll set up joint inspections to help make sure that every piece of cargo that leaves is safe," said Hetherington. "We have to wait to start joint inspections on the aircraft until they land, are fixed, and ready to travel home. Red Flag ends on a Friday and most units are leaving that Saturday morning, so it makes for late nights and long work days."

The air terminal works hard to help ensure everyone who comes to Red Flag gets home safe.

"We make sure nobody is carrying anything illegal aboard the plane, that anything involving hazardous materials is taken care of, and that the equipment is safe and isn't going to cause an in-flight emergency," said Hetherington.

Even when Red Flag is not going on, Hetherington said they have still have the busiest terminal in Air Combat Command and nobody in ACC has a mission like theirs.