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76th APS wins the 2019 Port Dawg Challenge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Noah Tancer
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A team of six 910th Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen won the 2019 Port Dawg Challenge at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base Transportation Proficiency Center, Georgia. Between April 22-25, 2019, the 76th Aerial Port Squadron competed against 26 other teams from active-duty, guard, reserve and foreign air forces.

The Port Dawg Challenge is held by Air Force Reserve Command every two years to competitively train aerial port squadrons and foster esprit de corps. This was the first year an active duty and a British Royal Air Force squadron participated in the challenge. The 76th APS team won the 2015 Port Dawg Challenge and took third place in the 2017 competition.

“Technically, you have all these other units here with the best of their units,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jim Masotto, 76th APS operations superintendent. "So look at the Air Force wide, what you see here are the best aerial porters in the Air Force.”

Representing Youngstown Air Reserve Station in this year’s PDC was team leader Master Sgt. Tae Choe with Master Sgt. Zach Dunkin, Tech. Sgt. Kyle Peirson, Tech. Sgt. Rebekah Sines, Tech. Sgt. Mike Nipper and Staff Sgt. Ben Rhinehart.

At this year’s competition, the 76th "Port Dawgs" were also underdogs, as they had a twenty-point reduction before the challenge began due to a last-minute roster change. They overcame the points disadvantage through grit and determination in each of the 12 graded events.

“There were little challenges here and there, but we work together so well as a group we made it happen,” said Choe. “Honestly, I’m at a loss for words. We came real close in 2017, and we just kept thinking about it ever since. We put together a real solid team, and we finally did it. I’m proud of my team.”

This year’s events were engine running on-load/off-load, air terminal operation center, cargo restraint, 10K forklift course, 25K Halvorsen driving and loading course, physical fitness, pallet build-up, joint inspection cargo load, load planning, cargo processing, passenger processing and written examination.

The team placed first in the forklift course and cargo restraint events, top three in the Halvorsen course, joint inspection and written examination events and top four in the load planning event.

The Port Dawg Challenge trophy will stay with 76 APS until at least 2021 when they'll have to defend their title.