RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
Each year, the third Friday in May is recognized as National Defense Transportation Day. Members of the Air Force air transportation community, commonly referred to as “Port Dawgs,” come together to remember fallen Port Dawgs and the contributions they have given to the Air Force.
Air Transportation members assigned to headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa, 603rd Air Operation Center, 721st APS, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and the 435th Contingency Response Squadron all gathered in tribute to their fallen comrades on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 18, 2018.
Memorial run participants performed a formation run around the flight line. After the run, active duty, reserve, guard, veteran, and retired Port Dawgs met in front of the 721st APS Passenger Terminal for hotdogs and hamburgers donated by the United Service Organization, and unit booster clubs.
“I feel like the run is humbling,” Airman 1st Class Alexandra Walters, 721st Aerial Port Squadron special handling craftsman. “It allows us to keep the fallen in our memory and also gives Airmen a bit of perspective as to what they are a part of.”
Port Dawgs are responsible for military logistics related to aerial ports across the Air Force.
“We’re a jack of all trades,” said Tech Sgt. Micah Harlow, 721st Aerial Port Squadron special handling supervisor. “We have the capability to do everything an airport does. We’re a port that gets everything to and from the fight down range.”
Combined, Port Dawgs make up a small portion of the enlisted Air Force promoting esprit de corps and a bellowing sense of comradery throughout the career field.
“We’re a lot like a tight knit family,” said Walters.
The devotion to one another may come from many places but across the career field the annual Port Dawg Memorial Run nurtures the atmosphere of comradeship.
In addition to honoring fallen Port Dawgs, Memorial Run participants across the Air Force also raised an approximate $6,000 to support the Fisher House Foundation.