British movers visit Port Dawgs > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article



Port Dawgs or Movers, it doesn’t matter what the name is, but the job is very similar across all branches of service and also in international military forces.


This became apparent to members of the 41st Aerial Port Squadron during a tour of the British Royal Air Force Reserve’s 4624th Squadron, known as the “Movers”, during their visit to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, April 21-25.


The BRAF Movers originally planned to participate in the Air Force Reserve Port Dawg Challenge, held at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga, but when it was canceled BRAF 4624th Squadron had to come up with a plan B.


Plan B: An invitation from Col. Reginald Trujillo, 403rd Mission Support Group Commander, for movers from 4624 Squadron to visit Keesler Air Force Base and conduct combined airlift interoperability and employment training at the agile combat with the 41st APS.


“The bottom line is that it’s an opportunity to train together as we prepare for the future fight,” he said.


“When Colonel T. (Trujillo) invited us to come to Keesler, that’s what we did,” said BRAF Warrant Officer Bob Adam, flight commander of 4624 C Flight Squadron. guys here and the reception we’ve had in Dobbins and here in Keesler has been phenomenal.”


Knowing that the “Britons were coming,” Staff Sgt. Martin Guthrie, 41st Deputy Airport Director APS, hosted a tour that included normal training in Port Dawg, a mini version of the Port Dawg challenge, and field training, which included firearms training and the identification of improvised explosive devices.


“We wanted them to get a feel for a small portion of the training we take, including training that isn’t job-specific,” Guthrie said. “We’re doing things they’ve never seen before, and they’ve shown us things we’ve never seen before.”


Although Movers and Port Dawgs are technically performing the same mission, they are both loading planes, the route is different.


“We handle all types of aircraft, C-130, C-17, British (Airbus) A400 (Atlas), and even a Voyager, which is a passenger aircraft,” said Paulina Griffiths-Jeans, lead aviator of the BRAF, 4624th Squadron mover. “Because we could load a C-130 and then turn around and load a British C-17 or A400 the next day or even handle three different planes on the same day.”


Guthrie said he had trained on the A400 before and described it as a cross between the C-130 Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster III.


“I think our airmen would benefit from seeing firsthand the different systems that our British partners are using,” Guthrie said. “And training on their planes would make them an asset to the Reserves as versatile airmen.”


One difference noticed was the trim system BRAF uses compared to the US Air Force for the aircraft.


“In some ways, our net systems are probably much easier and less complicated, but your nets are easier to handle than ours,” Griffiths-Jeans said.


Another difference that was mentioned was that movers in the 4624th must learn each job from a Port Dawg, whereas in the United States jobs within the unit are segregated, with members learning a specialty, such as section of the passenger terminal or the dangerous cargo area.


“Our members can stay in a Section their entire careers as subject matter experts, teaching those who come forward,” Guthrie said. “While others become proficient and move on to other areas of expertise.”


Teaching Airmen an area of ​​expertise is a manpower detail, with the 41st APS having about the same number of personnel in their squadron as the BRAF Reserve has movers.


“We have over 170 reserve movers spread across four flights with both a part-time volunteer reserve and approximately 15 full-time volunteer reserves to provide full-time support during the month,” Adam said. “There’s also a Regular Active Duty component of about eight guys, whose job it is to support us and provide basic training for movers for about three years and then move on to another position.”


These jobs are similar to those of the traditional reservist and air reserve technician, with active duty performing basic mover training.


Another difference mentioned by Griffiths-Jeans was the length of training. Their training, called the Forward Movement Training (FMT) course, is carried out in 15 days for the reserve forces; while members of the Port Dawg reserve can take their seasoning training for 60 days.


But like the U.S. Reserve Forces, they have the same basic commitment of one weekend a month and two weeks a year as well as diversity within the unit.


“We have a diverse group of people from truck drivers, lawyers, architects and general managers,” Adam said. “The challenge is trying to make it fun for the guys, entertain them and keep their skills up.”


Lt. Col. Stevie Lee, 41st APS commander, walked through and toured during the activities that were set up for the visit.


One event included practice securing equipment or vehicles to an aircraft, which began with training for BRAF Movers to practice with the equipment and ended with a mini-competition and ribs in a good mood.


“This type of event is great for morale, because while it’s primarily a learning experience, the competition also brings excitement and fun,” Lee said.


Griffiths-Jeans said she loves trying on gear at 41st because while the gear is the same, the controls are slightly different.


“Now when I land in America, some of these guys can drive the equipment on the plane that I’m flying,” she said. “At least I know how this equipment works now, I know what they are capable of. It will also make my job easier. And I can even step in and drive this equipment if I need to.


Everyone agreed that the chance to come together was a great opportunity, from joint training, to making contacts and sharing knowledge and experiences.


“I think this experience with the British has been good for our airmen because it demonstrates the differences between our two services, even when we are working to accomplish the same mission,” Lee said. “Exposing our Airmen to different approaches to similar challenges encourages them to think in new and innovative ways.


“We would like to turn this experience into an annual exchange, where we can not only welcome our BRAF partners, but also visit and see how they are doing business across the pond,” she said.