Air Force Featured Stories

387th ESPTS sustains busiest aerial port in AFCENT

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Hehnly
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
As one of the busiest aerial ports of debarkation in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility, the 387th Air Expeditionary Group is no stranger to service members and cargo transiting downrange, but it is the 387th Expeditionary Support Squadron that is charged with sustaining that aerial port. 

“The men and women of the 387th ESPTS are tasked with a very diverse mission set,” said Master Sgt. Daniel J. Durkee, the 387th ESPTS superintendent. “Just as our squadron emblem states ‘Aerum Portam Sustentant,’ which loosely translates to ‘sustaining the aerial port’, we are here for that and so much more. Our role is to ensure the aerial port has what it needs, providing Air Mobility Command a transition point for the approximately 16,000 passengers, 2,500 pounds of cargo and 350 wide-body aircraft per month.”

The mission of the 387th ESPTS is very diverse. Each flight has its own unique mission, yet they all support each other. The squadron completes big missions with the relatively small amount of personnel that make up its four flights, including the civil engineer, the force protection, the emergency management and material management flights. 

Working round-the-clock, the civil engineer flight maintains more than 100 facilities valued at $4.9 million dollars. They work hand-in-hand with other service branches, coalition forces and host nation partners to plan, design and complete major construction projects. The CE flight has a small group of specialists each trained in a unique skill set, to include utilities system maintenance, electrical, power production, structures, heavy equipment operation, engineering assistance and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

What one person does here, a wing would have three to four people doing. We are small, but we stay busy working 24 hours a day. We all help out since we are so small, said Master Sgt. Cesar Vega, the 387th ESPTS Civil Engineering Flight superintendent. 

Due to the CE flight’s size and the overwhelming workload, the team works largely in cooperation with the 387th ESPTS Force Protection Flight and the contractors they oversee. 

The force protection flight is the largest of the four flights and the most diverse. The flight, made up of personnel from 29 different Air Force specialty codes, maintains oversight over the large amount of other country nationals that provide support services to the installation. A priority of the force protection flight is the round-the-clock honor guard services they provide in support of Operation Inherent Resolve’s primary dignified transfer point.

“It gives me great pleasure to have been hand-selected to do this mission and continue the honor guard legacy,” said Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Cardiel, a 387th ESPTS Force Protection Flight member. “Participating in the dignified transfer honor guard team has impacted my life. It makes me want to do better, fight the good fight. To send someone home is sad, but it is an honor to carry them.”

As part of the installation’s emergency management plan, every member of the FP flight is also trained to augment the 387th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron in times of crisis. 

Tech. Sgt. James Nedd makes up the emergency management flight and serves as the single emergency manager in charge of the installation’s emergency management program, which includes the post attack response program, the shelter-in-place program and other contingency response plans. Nedd collaborates with four squadrons and coalition partners ensuring base personnel are properly prepared to respond in cases of emergency. 

The fourth and final piece of the ESPTS, the two-man material management flight, also collaborates with the entire group, tenant units and other geographically separated units. The material management flight, which would typically fall under a logistics readiness squadron, supports the installation by handling the responsibilities associated with log plans, traffic management office, supply and vehicle operations. One of the biggest missions for Staff Sgt. Toni Burnett and Tech. Sgt. John Razz is the intra-command shipments for forward deployed units, which  involves shipping more than $9 million in assets this rotation alone. 

Though the mission of the 387th ESPTS is very diverse, ultimately the four flights’ individual mission sets integrate as one to fulfill the ‘Aerum Portam Sustentant’ charge.