734th AMS overcomes obstacles to keep the mission going

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Suzie Plotnikov
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

Following the landfall of Typhoon Mawar, the devastating destruction could be seen by all. Roofs were destroyed, vegetation and the once green trees were bare of leaves and many buildings were flooded, including the passenger terminal on Andersen Air Force Base.

The terminal was hit hard and is still undergoing construction, but with the innovative spirit of the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, they were the first to reopen their port to receive typhoon relief such as Federal Emergency Management Agency managers and aid and recovery equipment all while completing many other flight line wins in a time of uncertainty.

They were able to improvise by using a hangar as a makeshift passenger terminal to support the Patriot Express mission.

“We had a process where we checked them in right at the door, scan them and make sure they [military families] were good to go,” said Airman Miguel Macias, 734th AMS passenger service agent. “They would wait at the same hangar that we checked them in at.”

Now, three months later, the 734th AMS executed their first Patriot Express mission out of a new improvised passenger terminal consisting of eight shipping containers repurposed as office spaces, a 12,000 square foot reduction from the old passenger terminal.

“This process is a lot better because it’s our own space,” said Macias. “We were working out of the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron hangar, which with two different jobs working out of the same place it was a little bit tricky. Now that we’re over here it’s a lot better because it’s our own space to utilize how we want to and our processes are a lot smoother.”

“The Patriot Express facilitates a predictable, reliable and affordable method of transportation back to the continental United States,” said Lt. Col. Michael Sadler, 734th AMS commander. “The savings are dramatic, families can save up to $4,700 per pet moved on the Patriot Express. The relief that the routine certainty of the Patriot Express mission delivers for the Joint Forces assigned to Guam is priceless.”

After looking at the damage that the Passenger Terminal building received, the 734th AMS didn’t see it as a problem but only as another opportunity to illustrate the capability that can be unleashed when Airmen innovate.

“The island of Guam was on the receiving end of a heavyweight blow that challenged everyday life,” said Sadler. “The EAGLES recognized a need, formulated a solution, and expedited a critical service to joint personnel and their families. It’s why the EAGLES have earned a reputation as pioneers and trailblazers and also why the smallest Air Mobility Command unit in the Indo-Pacific continues to shine and set the enroute standard.”