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Guam 'Port Dawgs,' Patriot Express mission is win-win situation

Picture of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jomar Cruz, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation specialist, observing his spotter as he operates a forklift during the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, March 7, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jomar Cruz, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation specialist, observes his spotter as he operates a forklift during the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, March 7, 2020. The Reserve Citizen Airman downloaded cargo from the Patriot Express aircraft, which provides a significant cost savings to the military community and acts as a bridge connecting Pacific forces with the U.S. mainland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tricia C. Topasna)

Picture of U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Camarin Perez, left, and Senior Airman Joshua San Agustin, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation specialists, moving baggage to a conveyor belt for loading onto an aircraft in support of the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 7, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Camarin Perez, left, and Senior Airman Joshua San Agustin, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation specialists, move baggage to a conveyor belt for loading onto an aircraft in support of the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 7, 2020. The Reserve Citizen Airmen supported an outbound movement of more than 100 passengers and various cargo as part of the Patriot Express mission, which provides a significant cost savings to the military community and acts as a bridge connecting Pacific forces with U.S. mainland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tricia C. Topasna). (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tricia C. Topasna)

Picture of U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Camarin Perez, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation specialist, placing floor dunnage on the ground for cargo bins in support of the first Patriot Express mission to arrive at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 7, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Camarin Perez, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation specialist, places floor dunnage on the ground for cargo bins in support of the first Patriot Express mission to arrive at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 7, 2020. The Patriot Express “rotator” aircraft provides a significant cost savings to the military community and acts as a bridge connecting Pacific forces with the U.S. mainland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tricia C. Topasna)

Picture of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Patrick Cruz, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation supervisor, waiting with a chock in hand while acting as a spotter and directing various transportation equipment during the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 7, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Patrick Cruz, 44th Aerial Port Squadron transportation supervisor, waits with a chock in hand while acting as a spotter and directing various transportation equipment during the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 7, 2020. The Patriot Express “rotator” aircraft provides a significant cost savings to the military community and acts as a bridge connecting Pacific forces with the U.S. mainland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tricia C. Topasna)

Picture of U.S. Air Force Reserve members with the 44th Aerial Port Squadron participating in the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, March 7, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Reserve members with the 44th Aerial Port Squadron participate in the first Patriot Express mission at Andersen Air Force Base, March 7, 2020. The team, led by Master Sgt. Patrick Cruz, augmented with the 734th Air Mobility Squadron to service the Patriot Express on its first chartered flight as a rotator between Andersen AFB and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tricia C. Topasna)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --

Air Force Reserve Airmen from the 44th Aerial Port Squadron here worked with the active duty's 734th Air Mobility Squadron here March 7 to support the first Patriot Express mission to land in Guam.

The chartered Patriot Express “rotator” aircraft, which provides a significant cost savings to the military community, flew from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington, with a brief servicing stopover in Anchorage, Alaska, before arriving.

According to 44th APS leadership, when news the Patriot Express mission was coming to Guam was received, the first thought that came to mind was “Yes!” Patriot Express translates to a unique savings for the island’s military community to travel without incurring the high cost of commercial airline fares and other fees. It also provides an opportunity for 44th APS members to augment with the 734th AMS on a real-world mission improving mission readiness and showcasing their skills.

Aerial porters from the 44th APS and 734th AMS began executing integrated ground operations once the Patriot Express mission landed.

“This 100-plus passenger and various cargo movement lends itself to our Airmen’s capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Carla Lugo, 44th Aerial Port Squadron commander. “It speaks to the ability of my team to excel in their job proficiency as they work side-by-side with the 734th AMS. With Patriot Express now online, the next six months will provide us another great opportunity to continue building a strong working relationship with AMS.”

The globally-contracted commercial airline acts as a bridge connecting the Pacific forces with the U.S. mainland. The added travel option allows for Department of Defense members and their families, as well as eligible "Space Available" travelers, to move between theaters. Pet accommodation was another concern which prompted DOD to start service into Guam. Dependent upon the aircraft’s cargo configuration, families on authorized Permanent Change of Station travel can now book with the Transportation Management Office up to two domestic pets, cat and dogs, once all requirements are met.  

Based on an initial six-month “proof of principle” starting this month, the Patriot Express’ twice-per-month service is scheduled at Andersen AFB every other Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. local, and will depart on the same day at 9:50 p.m. ChST. Booking is available 90 days prior to your desired departure dates through the local Transportation Management Office.

Scheduled Patriot Express dates include March 21, April 4 and 18, May 2, 16 and 30, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, and Aug. 8 and 11.

“This is the first time I’ve flown as a dependent and it was a lot of fun,” said Catlyn Marcuri, a Saint Louis, Missouri, traveler on the Patriot Express flight. “I really enjoyed it.”

The 44th APS, which is part of the 624th Regional Support Group with units in Hawaii and Guam, deploys qualified personnel to provide air terminal operations worldwide in support of contingency operations, exercises, unit moves, and foreign humanitarian relief or disaster operations.