Dover Airmen reroute cargo, saves millions

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 436th Aerial Port Squadron saved approximately $5 million through collaborative efforts with the 618th Air Operations Center to reroute and resource cargo missions through the installation.

Dover AFB is home of the Department of Defense’s largest aerial port, which is a hub for many strategic airlift missions.  However, COVID-19 has complicated many of those missions.

“In some instances, [before COVID] an aircraft used to come in and spend 24-48 hours [on the flight line] before they take off to go back home,” said Bradley Schmidt, 436th APS cargo scheduler. “They’re now spending two or three hours here: just enough time for us to get cargo off, [new] cargo on, and then they go to their next location.”

The combination of COVID-19 procedures and limited time for ground operations required the APS to collaborate and devise a new and more efficient way to plan and execute mobility missions on a combination of both military and commercial aircraft.

That innovation happened through the capability forecasters. They are tasked with maximizing aircraft utilization and ensuring that logistics run smoothly. They work closely with the 618th Air Operations Center’s Channel Requirement Branch, the command and control center for mobility air assets, to coordinate conflict-free cargo missions.

“I am so proud of the collaborative efforts between our folks here at the 618th Air Operations Center and our fellow Airmen at Dover’s 436th Aerial Port Squadron,” said Brigadier General Daniel DeVoe, 618th Air Operations Center commander. “It started with an innovative idea by a Dover Airman, then through our strategic partnership and recent transformation, we were able to apply innovative solutions, deliver cargo faster and save the taxpayer nearly $5 million. Together, we continue to provide global support for air mobility operations and demonstrate our ability to deliver anywhere in the world, whenever we choose.”

Destiny Donigan, 436th APS cargo scheduling supervisor and capability forecaster, was able to recognize that there were many C-5M Super Galaxies and C-17 Globemaster IIIs leaving towards cargo destinations empty.

“We have to look at what the other entities within the aerial port have to do to make this mission happen and have it happen successfully,” said Donigan.

Through coordination with the 618th AOC’s Channel Requirement Branch, Donigan and her team managed to have missions rerouted via Dover. This permitted cargo to be moved on Dover military aircraft rather than using commercial flights that cost a significant amount of money. The cargo was then allowed to enter the local port and permitted shared space utilization on scheduled airlifts. This rerouting gets the cargo to the destinations on time, if not ahead of schedule.

“This is a prime example of the Super Port going above and beyond to keep the payload moving expeditiously to the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Jerry W. Yarrington, 436th APS commander.

Whether its time or money, Airmen at Dover and the 618th AOC are always looking for innovative ways to generate global strategic airlift every day.