ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, KUWAIT
Story by Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum
ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, KUWAIT – The sound of machine engines running a 24-hour cargo operation becomes white noise for the Airmen of the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Each morning, Tech. Sgt. Juan Garcia, 386th ELRS cargo processing noncommissioned officer in charge, walks out of his room and hears the sound of those engines and knows one thing:
If the noise ever were to stop, he would wonder what’s wrong, and why the warfighters aren’t getting what they need for their missions.
Airmen assigned to the 386th ELRS cargo processing team ensure that 15 to 30 thousand pounds of water, food, and MREs are delivered across the area of responsibility to military members in need.
“Ali Al Salem is a hub for the AOR,” said Garcia. “Being here with the coalition forces and moving all different kinds of cargo makes it unique. We are working non-stop with different entities and different moving parts to get the rations where they’re needed.”
The loading process is only accomplished with joint services working hand-in-hand and requires around the clock operations.
“Cargo Airmen work a 12hr shift, with rations coming in daily,” said Garcia. “We’re the lifeline for some units in the AOR, and some can’t survive without us. Our cargo yard has over 200 pallets ready to ship and at any given time.”
Garcia also mentioned that once U.S. Army Soldiers build the pallets of rations, they are jointly inspected by ELRS technicians to certify their airworthiness before moving on to one of the 55 bases where they’re needed.
“Usually, rations are the highest priority to move since you don’t want them sitting outside,” said Garcia. “We get them out as soon as possible. We can ‘load plan’ it, and within six hours, it can be on its way.”
The AASAB mission for the ELRS can be challenging for not only a seasoned Technical Sergeant but also for the newest of Airmen on their first deployment.
“I came from Elmendorf, and it’s a lot faster paced here,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Paradiso, 386th
ELRS cargo specialist. “Back at home station, you don’t necessarily see the whole mission, but when you’re here, you see and experience it all. I get to ensure everything goes where it needs to be.”
It is in this spirit of ensuring the mission is accomplished between every ELRS Airmen, day and night, ensuring the warfighter will receive their needs for the mission.