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139th Aerial Port deployment

ST. JOSEPH, MO. -- Thirteen members of the 139th Aerial Port Squadron will deploy to Afghanistan where they will join Guardsmen- from across the country- to the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron. Part of their mission is to assist in the loading and unloading of cargo pallets using the 60k Tunner Material Handling Equipment loader.

"We will load and unload different airframes, what goes on and what comes off the aircraft such as a rolling stock and rations," said Master Sgt. Aaron Ziph, 139th Air Transportation Specialist. "We will be a part of the Mission Support Group just as we are at home."

Ziph said that six of the more than a dozen members deploying will complete a two-week-long training in Oklahoma where they will be trained on the HME they load onto the aircraft to prepare for the mission.

"There are five of us that have never deployed. Everyone else has deployed to either Iraq or elsewhere in the AOR a number of times," said Ziph. "Everyone that is going is a great group of personnel with a great amount of experience."

'We will be responsible for the functions of the Air Terminal Operations Center, Ramp-cargo services, pax (passenger) services, load planning, and special handling section-hazardous material," said Ziph. "We won't find out what we will be assigned to until we get there. "It depends on the need."

The team is scheduled to return May 2011.