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News > Maintenance Group takes command of Aerial Port
436 APS reorganization ceremony
Col. Thomas Kauth, 436th Maintenance Group commander, receives the 436th Aerial Port Squadron's guidon from Col. Manson Morris, 436th Airlift Wing commander, during a re-organization ceremony at the 436th APS on Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 1, 2010. This ceremony marked the movement of 436th APS to the 436th MXG from the 436th Mission Support Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik/Released)
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Maintenance Group takes command of Aerial Port

Posted 10/5/2010   Updated 10/5/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Matthew Hubby
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/5/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Since Jan. 8, 1966, the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, or Super Port, has been a constant at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Its mission is to load and unload cargo, service the air fleet and care for the passenger terminal.

While its mission won't be changing, the group in control of it has. The 436th APS was transferred from the 436th Mission Support Group to the 436th Maintenance Group during a re-organization ceremony Oct. 1.

During the ceremony, Col. Joan Garbutt, 436th MSG commander, relinquished command of the 436th APS to Col. Thomas Kauth, 436th MXG commander.

"The Aerial Port Squadron has moved between groups over the years due to various organizational realignments," said Col. Manson Morris, 436th Airlift Wing commander. "APS once belonged to the operations group, then the mission support group and today it will become a part of the maintenance group."

The main reason behind the change in organization is joint basing, said Colonel Morris. "While Dover is not becoming a joint base, other bases within Air Mobility Command have done so. At some bases, the Air Force is not the lead installation service. This means that another service has responsibility for the base and the associated support functions, and the Air Force wing is there solely to accomplish the Air Force-specific mission."

When this happens, the Air Force's mission support group is no longer needed at that base, which means that the Aerial Port must be moved, as it and its mission cannot be transferred to another service.

"This necessitates that it find a new home within the remaining portions of the Air Force wing," said Colonel Morris. "This home will be the maintenance group. When this happens at one base, it needs to happen at others as well, so our wings will be structured consistently no matter where they're located."

This transition will be transparent to both the members of the aerial port and their customers. Even though the Super Port will no longer be a part of the mission support group, the services it provides to the nation's ongoing operations won't miss a beat.

"Change, no matter how strategic, can be intimidating," said Colonel Garbutt. "But in this case, moving the aerial port from the mission support group to the maintenance group will gain flight line efficiencies and further collaboration. This move will take an already superb mission execution to an even higher level."

The aerial port has earned many achievements in its time with the mission support group. It won the Air Mobility Command Air Terminal Operations Flight of the Year in 2008, achieved excellent ratings on both of its 2009 inspections and swept the AMC awards in 2009 by bringing home seven of eight flight awards which lead to the Super Port being named the Air Force's National Defense transportation Unit of the year in 2009.

The aerial port will continue such feats well into the future.

Colonel Kauth said, "I'm excited to join these two mission generation functions together and see how we can capitalize on the strengths of both the aircraft maintenance and aerial port squadrons to establish new heights in air mobility performance."

"The only thing that will change is how we use the functions we have to help us improve our operations. Program managers from both maintenance and aerial port have already started to mesh us into a strong team," he said.

The aerial port is no stranger to teamwork and is used to adapting to new missions and requirements, said Colonel Kauth.

"Our maintainers and the aerial port work closely together to make sure the mission goes smoothly," said 2nd Lt. Ryan Chylewski, 436th APS Air Terminal Operations Center flight commander.

"We rely on the maintainers to make sure our aircraft are ready to load so that we can continue our mission as transporters. After all, you can't put cargo on an aircraft and get it in the air if it's not cleared to fly," he said.

Many members of the 436th APS are excited about the change.

"It makes a lot of sense to have us move to the maintenance group," said Senior Airman Iago Zayco, 436th APS equipment manager. "The flightline belongs to maintenance and the Super Port. We load and unload cargo on the planes they fix, and we have equipment we use to move the cargo that breaks down sometimes, so it is a good match."

Some 436th APS members worked next to members of the maintenance group even before the change in organization.

"When I'm out there working I like to make conversation with my fellow Airmen, maintenance or aerial port," said Senior Airman Steven Leclerc, 436th APS passenger service agent. "We have to get in contact with them every day to get the status of the aircraft we are waiting to load to continue our mission. I see them almost every day."

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