37th AS loadmaster participates in International Jump Week

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
When the cargo bay of a C-130J Super Hercules drops down, it’s game time for 37th Airlift Squadron loadmasters. Concentrated and aware of their surroundings, loadmasters are trained to be in charge of an entire plane’s cargo hull during flight.

When they’re tasked to also take charge of dozens of North Atlantic Treaty Organization paratroopers during an exercise, they don’t step down. They load up.

Senior Airman Patrick Cassidy, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, took part in an International Jump Week exercise over Germany Nov. 28 – Dec. 5. It’s one of the biggest events Cassidy has participated in at Ramstein, but it’s one of many things he looks forward to as an Airman.

Cassidy joined the Air Force knowing he wanted to be around planes. That’s why when he found out he got selected to enter the military as a loadmaster, he knew it was meant to be.

Extensive coordination goes into planning any Air Force flight, especially when transporting both people and supplies. Responsible for properly loading, securing, and escorting cargo and passengers -- aircraft loadmasters custom-load aircraft before any flight. From calculating proper weight distribution to providing passenger comfort throughout the flight, these specialists ensure everything and everyone is safe and secure on flights all over the world.

To Cassidy, having such a large role in the Ramstein mission is something he looks forward to every day.

“Being a loadmaster has been an incredible experience this far in my life,” Cassidy said. “When I’m in the back of a C-130, and I feel those strong wind gusts blow through the cargo hull as I open the door, I know I selected the right job. It fits me like a glove.”

The job includes extensive training, and part of that training comes from exercises such as International Jump Week. The pace changed, but the outcome did not, Cassidy said.

“These exercises help us elevate our efficiency by putting us in scenarios where we are working with dozens of our allied nations,” Cassidy explained. “Although it is different from our normal day-to-day operations, we still came back to base successful every day.”

The Ramstein mission is to provide combat airlift and operate the Air Force's premier installation to enable and assure strategic capabilities. C-130J’s are vital to the mission, and the loadmasters that ensure they function properly are a key to their ability to deliver air power.

“This was an opportunity for me and other [loadmasters] to show what we can do,” Cassidy said. “We also took a lot of new lessons in. Thanks to these opportunities, though, it’s never a matter of if we can do something, but how efficiently.”