TMO, Ready to go!

  • Published
  • By TSG Valerie Rose
  • 185th ARW Public Affairs
"TMO, Ready to go!" That's the motto of the 185th Traffic Management Office (TMO) according to Senior Airman Patricia Wise, a Packing and Crating Assistant with the 185th TMO.
The TMO Flight, headed by Chief Master Sgt. Bob Edwards, is composed of outstanding individuals whose mission is to ensure the onward movement of military personnel and assets throughout United States and other locations all over the globe.
Sioux City native Wise is one of the six members of the TMO team. Wise said TMO is responsible for far more duties than just making airline reservations for members going TDY. "Anything coming on and going off the base, goes through our office," she explained. This includes both personnel and equipment. "We deal with shipping and receiving such items as aircraft parts, vehicles, generators, weapons and hazardous material, everything except mail," she said.
According to Wise, items needing to be shipped are brought over to TMO where she and fellow workers get started on the necessary paperwork and then determine how fast the item(s) need to get to their intended destination, and the best way to get it there.
This is accomplished through a global wide network for shipping called Cargo Movement Operation System, (CMOS). Once the item's specifications are input into the program, the item gets rated and a shipping label is printed out. The label then gets attached to the item to be shipped.
"We also make sure that it's packed correctly," Wise added. Depending on the type of item it is determines how it needs to be packed to comply with regulations and to also make sure the item arrives safely. Afterward, the item is picked-up and transported by a contracted civilian courier.
Technical Sgt. Clayton Herman, another Sioux City resident and 13 year member of the 185th, has been full-time with TMO since 1999.
Herman, who also works in Packing and Crating, explained that they are further tasked with being the point of contact for the Space-Available (Space A) program. Otherwise known as military hops, Space A is a unique privilege provided to service members, retirees, and their families.
"It's basically a free way for military and retired personnel to fly," said Herman. For those unfamiliar with the program, eligible passengers can fill unused seats on DOD-owned or controlled aircraft once all the space-required (duty) passengers and cargo have been accommodated. He said that "there is a lot of interest in the program, especially when the flights are to places such as Hawaii or Puerto Rico."
Travelers can sign up 60 days in advance of the desired travel date. Herman also advises, "there is necessary paperwork that needs to be completed" for those wanting to take advantage of the free flights.
To see what flights are available call 1-800-582-5718 ext. 0220 or stop by their office at building #280.
To do their job, Herman says, "you need to be qualified to operate and drive many different types of vehicles." The list includes tractor/trailers, buses, forklifts and HMMWVs, (Humvee's). "We are also in charge of loading and off loading all the baggage from the aircraft."
According to Herman, one of the most unique items shipped from the 185th has been corn. "Right after 9-11, a request was made from deployed personnel overseas for home grown sweet corn." The soldiers' request was heard and, "people from the Siouxland area began bringing in coolers full of ice and donated corn from local farmers," said Herman. "Though it took a little extra effort to make sure the corn arrived fresh, the deployed soldiers really appreciated the efforts and it gave them a taste of home."
Not all days are so rewarding or enjoyable. Herman also has been involved in covert shipments that need to be conducted at night and require special permits.
While deployed to Iraq in 2007, Herman witnessed buses coming on base in the middle of the night, one carrying injured soldiers and the second with those less fortunate."
Wise remembers a time that made her laugh, "shipping used porta-potties from the aircraft to DRMO to be recycled," she said. Herman also recalls shipping wheelchairs overseas for children in need. "Companies donate the wheelchairs specially designed for kids and we arrange for the shipping."
To be able to work with and ship hazardous material you must be properly trained and you must be certified. According to Herman, if not done correctly, the 185th can be subject to heavy fines.
Not only does TMO personnel have to follow strict shipping regulations, but individuals must complete and 2 week course, every other year to maintain their certification. The course includes three written tests, with a required passing score on all tests; otherwise individuals are kicked out of the course and will lose their certification.
Often times, Clayton and Wise specifically build and design crates to ship items. "We have all the material and tools in the shop to build a crate to our specific needs," Clayton said. "We also conduct cargo build up classes to teach unit members the proper way to build a pallet and ready cargo for shipping."
So when you need assistance with making airline reservations for deploying TDY or getting an item shipped to a far off destination, with TMO, you're ready to go.

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