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Air Force Reserve Airmen train at the 109th Aerial Port Squadron

STRATTON ANGB, N.Y. --

The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing is hosting two Air Force Reserve Airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base while they complete their hands-on training as aerial port specialists.

The Airmen, assigned to the 87th Aerial Port Squadron of the 445th Airlift Wing, are spending 60 days learning from their counterparts at the 109th Airlift Wing.

It’s a training relationship that has been going on since 2017 and has trained 14 Airmen so far, according to Master Sgt. Justin Carkner, 109th air transportation specialist.

Airmen have on-the-job training requirements when they graduate their technical school, during that time they get more specific training and learn the overall functions of being an air transportation specialist.

“We opened ourselves up to the community, Guard and Reserve, to come and see our facility- we have a unique mission they like to take part in and we get to teach them a couple of things while they are here,” said Carkner.

Wright-Patterson doesn’t have an active mission so the airmen don’t have the opportunity for as much hands on experience. 

“The 87th contacted us, they wanted a training program with an active mission and experienced trainers.  They did a couple of site visits and liked our operation and started the program with our squadron. They come here for sixty days, learn as much as they can, and they go back as qualified as we can make them,” explained Carkner.

Senior Airman Ian Chisholm is assigned the 87th Aerial port squadron and is about halfway through his training days with the  109th.  He explained that he is a tactile learner so the amount of hands on training he is getting has really helped him learn a lot.

“There is enough going to where I am learning all the facets of the job but it’s also not so busy that you just get caught in the flow in pushed to the side,” Chisholm said. 

Airman First Class Trevor Cornelius is also assigned to the 87th and about halfway through completing his on-the-job training, he is a full time IT operations specialist for his civilian job and has been enjoying his time doing something different.

“I love to mix it up, I spend most of my time behind a desk so it is great to get out and use my hands and learn a totally different set of skills,” said Cornelius.

Chisholm is excited to have the opportunity to see his work from start to finish.

On the day he was interviewed he was helping to load and secure a pallet set to ship to Greenland.

He will be also be on the next trip to Greenland, loading the cargo that will be delivered to Kangerlussuaq and Summit Station, the research station near the apex of the Greenland ice sheet.

“When we have the capability, we send them to Greenland as well. It’s rewarding and it’s nice to see them progress as they go along in the program and really start understanding the aspects of the job and see it come full circle,” said Carkner.

The 109th Airlift Wing flies the LC-130 "Ski Bird" version of the C-130 transport which is configured to land on ice and snow. The wing's airmen routinely carry people and supplies for American scientific research being conducted in Antarctica and on the Greenland ice cap.