Port Dawgs from the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron await the arrival of an aircraft containing approximately 350 incoming service members July 22, 2012 in Southwest Asia. The baggage team ensures all luggage is successfully removed from the aircraft and ready for pickup by the time each person processes through immigration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)
Senior Airman Joshua Spierer, 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron passenger service representative, checks in departing passengers from Southwest Asia July 22, 2012. These ‘Port Dawgs,’ also known as ‘The Ocho’s,’ support approximately 9,000 transiting service members each month. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)
Airman 1st Class T.J. Cotter, 8th EAMS passenger service representative, carefully reviews and scans every piece of carry-on luggage passengers takes with on their trip home from Southwest Asia July 22, 2012. One of the top priorities of the Airmen of the 8th EAMS is to ensure all passengers traveling to the continental United States adhere to the Transportation Security Administration guidelines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)
Airman 1st Class Patricia Sloan, 8th EAMS passenger service representative, uses a hand-held metal detector to scan departing service members before they head home from a successful deployment in Southwest Asia July 22, 2012. One of the top priorities of the Airmen of the 8th EAMS is to ensure all passengers traveling to the continental United States adhere to the Transportation Security Administration guidelines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)
Senior Airman Richard Rose, 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron baggage team member, offloads 50 to 70 pound pieces of luggage from deep in the belly of the aircraft so it can be delivered to the service members who arrived July 22, 2012 in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)
by Senior Airman Bryan Swink
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
7/26/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The members of the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron Aerial Port Flight conduct business as if they work at a state-side international airport. Their main focus is customer satisfaction while ensuring the mission stays on course and adheres to the Transportation Security Administration guidelines.
These 'Port Dawgs,' also known as 'The Ocho's,' support approximately 9,000 transient service members each month. They check passengers in, issue boarding passes, move every piece of luggage and ensure the safe departure of each service member as they head home following a successful tour here in Southwest Asia.
"We understand most people who come through here are on their way home after a long deployment," said Airman 1st Class Patricia Sloan, 8th EAMS passenger service representative, deployed from the 305th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. "We want their post-deployment relaxation to begin here before they even begin heading home."
Once travelers are checked in, they must then be immigrated out of the local country and head to the security checkpoint where TSA standards and guidelines are strictly followed. The team X-rays every piece of carry-on luggage and ensures every passenger is scanned by a metal detector.
"Our commitment to our passengers going home is to streamline their processing here in the AOR so they can have a smooth transition onto a commercial aircraft to head back to the United States," said Capt. Katheryn Plummer, 8th Aerial Port Flight commander. "To do this, we follow strict TSA passenger and baggage screening policies. Not only does this keep the passengers and crews of the aircraft safe, it results in zero delays meeting connecting flights - getting our travelers home as soon as possible."
Another 8th EAMS team is hard at work while passengers are making their way through the immigration and boarding process.
"The baggage team is some of the muscle of our squadron," said Master Sgt. Hector Cartagena, 8th EAMS operations noncommissioned officer, deployed from the 514th AMW, JB MDL, N.J. "Every passenger has at least two bags they check and each one weighs between 50 and 70 pounds. These guys are tossing around thousands of pounds of luggage for every out-bound or in-bound flight."
This team ensures all passengers' checked bags are sorted correctly and reach their final destination.
"I am very proud of what 'The Ocho' does on a daily basis to give our war fighters the best first and last impression of this installation," said Plummer, deployed from the Air National Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona. "We are the first people travelers see when arriving here, and the last to say goodbye when they go home - that's an honor!"
7/29/2012 12:00:39 AM ET Hector Cartegena and his entire platoon are HERO's. They do an extraordinary job. We are so proud of each and everyone of them. God Bless America...Gof Bless our soldiers.
Michele Caron, Montville NJ USA
7/27/2012 4:04:16 PM ET I heard those nightshift pax guys do this for a warm-up.