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Cargo distribution center: Bring it to them, they ship it

Senior Airman Bruce Sheel, cargo distribution center, cuts a piece of wood to create a specialized packing instruction. SPIs are wooden crates that have specific dimensions required by certain packages. Airman Sheel is from the 243rd Air Traffic Control Squadron at the Air National Guard (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Senior Airman Bruce Sheel, cargo distribution center, cuts a piece of wood to create a specialized packing instruction. SPIs are wooden crates that have specific dimensions required by certain packages. Airman Sheel is from the 243rd Air Traffic Control Squadron at the Air National Guard (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- The 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron's cargo distribution shop is involved in almost every aspect of packaging, shipping and receiving products for the base. Whether the materials are hazardous, explosive or excess property, the members of the center perform their challenging job successfully and cheerfully.

"It's a challenging job," said Mike Chestnutt. "[P]eople who do the same type of job day after day need to reach out or try something new. Learning something new about your project is always fun."

Offices and shops at Warren are sometimes in need of new desks, cabinets, microwaves and many other items. Once the new things are ordered, the people have to find somewhere for the replaced items to go. That's where the traffic management office comes into play.

As part of the Defense Reutilization Marketing System, the cargo distribution shop takes all the old appliances the base turns in and sends them off to be resold. The staff builds the pallets, secures the appliances to them and loads the pallets onto vehicles destined for Colorado Springs, Colo. The money from the sales goes back into the Department of Defense.

Normally, the shop has 13 members working. Right now, eight are deployed. To make up for manning issues, members of the Wyoming Air National Guard have been tasked to help. Now, the Guard represents almost 50 percent of the current shop.

"We're a main part of it down here because they deploy so much," said Senior Airman Bruce Sheel, 243rd Air Traffic Control Squadron. "They'd be lost without us," he said with a smile.

"I feel like I have a lot of opportunities here," said Airman Ricky Sherman, 90th LRS. "With our low manning, it gives me the chance to try everything in this career field."

When packaging or shipping items that have an irregular shape or size, the shop creates their own crates, called specialized packing instructions.

"Once the SPIs are made, we line them with foam so exact, there is no space to move," Airman Sheel said. "That way, when it gets shipped, nothing can bounce around or be damaged."

Apart from creating crates, the cargo center has a machine that can make most sizes of cardboard box. The machine cuts, perforates and removes all the excess cardboard, leaving a product that needs only tape to finish.

Using all these products and techniques, the cargo distribution center staff effectively handles the packaging at Warren. But the real work is from the people.

"The people are great," said Staff Sgt. Priscilla Brown, 90th LRS. "I like knowing that when I come to work, we can get the job done."

"I love being part of LRS," Airman Sheel said. "I have friends here that are like family to me."