Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TMO: A Moving Mission

by Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

5/20/2014 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The special mission at Minot Air Force Base requires bombers to be ready to respond at the drop of a hat. The Traffic Management Office here, usually known for shipping house hold items, also has the responsibility of ensuring the base's B-52H Stratofortresses are fully functional for take-off at any moment.

"Our role is to make sure that the parts that need to be fixed and the parts we need to fly are ready 24/7," said Senior Airman Garrett Medlock, 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron cargo movement specialist. "Our bombers need to be taken care of around the clock."

Weekly shipments include an average of 800-900 items of general cargo, 150 mission capable items, 20 classified items and five to six Nuclear Weapons Readiness Materials.

TMO consists of many different sections including packaging and crating, inbound and outbound cargo, household goods, passenger travel, and quality assurance.

"Once cargo has been received it is then processed and sorted," said Master Sgt. Joshua Hawkins, 5th LRS cargo movement section chief. "Airmen in TMO also build the crates that the cargo will reside in as Minot is one of the only bases without a civilian wood worker."

Minot is also one of the only bases that work with NWRMs while maintaining a 60 percent manning rate.

"Only Global Strike bases deal with NWRMs," said Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Erhart, 5th LRS noncommissioned officer in charge of cargo movement. "They are high-visibility parts and everybody wants to know everything that's going on with them, every step of the way. You really have to be on top of your A-game."

Whether it is the finance office personnel who pay the Airmen, the loadmasters who load the munitions or the pilots themselves, TMO wants to ensure the Airmen who contribute to our everyday missions are being taken care of, said Medlock.

"We make sure that you are given the best quality packaging and shipping," said Staff Sgt. Rajeev Shilpakar, 5th LRS NCO in charge of packing and crating.

Contrary to what many people might believe, TMO does not deliver household goods directly to each doorstep, they use a contracted carrier, said Shilpakar. TMO's role during a delivery is to conduct inspections to make sure the carrier is using proper packaging and procedures, and to ensure quality service is provided for customer.

In addition to everything they do to support Minot's mission, TMO also provides parts to bases worldwide. They are responsible for shipping out parts such as nuts and bolts, or plane wings for mission essential tasks overseas. More importantly they assist in bringing back loved ones from deployed locations.

"If your loved ones are supposed to be getting on a plane to return home, and that plane is down, the part to fix it has to be shipped from TMO," said Erhart. "There's a lot more to TMO than household goods."

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