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44th APS named best in AFRC

  • Published
  • By Airman Basic Evan Carter
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 44th Aerial Port Squadron was named the best aerial port squadron in the Air Force Reserve Command for the fiscal year 2006. 

The 44 APS is a tenant unit on Andersen and has been on Guam for 25 years. Currently there are 243 members of the 44 APS and all of them are Guam residents except for one who commutes from Saipan. 

The 44 APS commander, Lt. Col. Kraig Hankins, attributes the award to the hard work of the reservists and their willingness to deploy worldwide. 

"We are the top aerial port squadron in the Air Force Reserve Command when it comes to deploying. We have deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Qatar and several other various CONUS/OCONUS locations," said Colonel Hankins. "We deployed more than 60 members in 2006. Even I was deployed for four months to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for my Air Expeditionary Force rotation." 

Aerial port squadrons operate and provide the functions assigned to aerial ports, including processing personnel and cargo, loading equipment, preparing air cargo and load plans, loading and securing aircraft, delivering cargo while in-flight, and supervising units engaged in aircraft loading and unloading operations. 

According to Senior Master Sgt. Michael Williams, 44 APS air transportation manager, members of 44th Aerial Port Squadrons perform the very same duties as our active duty counterpart at any Air Mobility Squadrons, the only difference is that we are reservists. 

"We work right along side with members of other air mobility squadrons," said Sergeant Williams. "Most of the time the only way someone can tell the difference between our guys and our active duty counterpart is the reservist patch we where on our uniform." 

One member of the 44 APS, Master Sgt. Restituto Guevara, recently returned from a deployment to Travis AFB backfilling for the 60th Aerial Port Squadron. 

"I have been a member of the 44 APS for 20 years now," said Sergeant Guevara. "Throughout all those years, it has always been fun working with different people at different bases around the world when I deployed." 

Most members of the 44 APS have primary jobs in the civilian world. Being able to balance civilian life with military life is important to the squadrons success, said Colonel Hankins. 

"About 50 percent of our forces are policeman, fire fighters and teachers in their civilian life," said Colonel Hankins. 

The 44 APS had a lot of help from other groups and squadrons explained Sergeant Williams. 

"The 734 AMS has always supported us with excellent training and the 36th Mission Support Squadron finance and personnel offices have supported us by processing our travel vouchers and keeping our members and their dependent records up to date," said Sergeant Williams. "Also, our group commander, Col. Pamela Milligan, always goes to 'bat' for us and constantly challenges us to be the very best we can be." 

Knowing we are the best aerial port squadron is a good feeling to have, explained Colonel Hankins. 

"It feels great to be recognized for our hard work and our dedication in all that we do, not just in Guam but everywhere we go," said Colonel Hankins. "With the Guam spirit with us wherever we go, we work and learn and won't stop until we "get er done."

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