Washington, D.C. --
Airmen of the 175th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, affectionately known as “Port Dawgs,” conducted security, communication and logistical missions in support of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen leading up to and through the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
Members assigned to the Small Air Terminal from the 175th Wing worked together with fellow aerial porters from the 69th Aerial Port Squadron assigned to the the 459th Air Refueling Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, to process thousands of personnel and handle over 260,000 pounds of equipment and cargo in support of the Inaugural mission.
“I enjoyed my time at Andrews supporting the Inauguration,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tevon Hawkins, a member of the 175th Log. Readiness Squad.. “It was amazing seeing the movement of the National Guard from around our nation and territories. I was compelled to support this Inauguration because of the events that took place at the capital [on Jan. 6]. I felt it was my duty to ensure a peaceful transition of power in any way that I could.”
This was the first time members of the 175th Wing supported an inauguration in this capacity. As that mission ended, an estimated 4,900 passengers from 26 states and territories departed to their home bases by aircraft, buses, and other transportation modes.
“The airmen from the Aerial Port had a significant mission impact,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jamie Plakosh, the Small Air Terminal flight commander, 175th Log. Readiness Squad. “Their unique training allowed troops to quickly off-load both personnel and cargo, and move to in-processing. If the USAF did not organically support the inauguration, then each unit would have had to provide individual airline travel for thousands of Airmen.
Plakosh also added that units would have had to ship all of their cargo via ground transportation, potentially causing substantial delays or incurring extreme cost to have the cargo arrive in an expedited manner.
According to Kurt Hendrix, an air transporter assigned to the 175th Log. Readiness Squad., National Guard members loaded onto buses while the port dawgs palatalized their baggage to be loaded onto aircraft. Troops then continued out-processing, received a final anti-hijack brief along with other vital end-of-mission information and ate a hot meal before heading home.
More than 26,000 National Guard men and women supported the inauguration, with over 100 flights departed during the mission with support of the port dawgs that gave their best to ensure the return of members to their home units.