By Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Magan Strickland
NORFOLK, Va. -- Sailors from over 50 Navy Reserve units located across the country answered a call to keep the Norfolk Navy-operated Air Mobility Command Air Terminal on schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Reserve unit assigned to the terminal, NR NAVAIRTERM NORVA 207, sent out the call for support to Reserve Sailors of any rate or rank. Lt. Cmdr. Chen Chang, Commanding Officer of NR NAVAIRTERM NORVA 207, knew the Reserve force could help, but was still humbled by the number of Sailors who volunteered to support.
"As the only Reserve unit assigned to the terminal, we knew about the growing demand on the AMC staff and stepped up to the plate when called by CDR Dietrich, officer in charge of the terminal," said Chang. "We needed to help keep them on schedule — everything from loading cargo, driving forklifts, handling luggage, transporting household goods, to processing paperwork. But to get so much help from the Reserve Force outside our unit was incredible. We have had 83 Reserve Sailors and 16 Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One (NCHB-1) Sailors help the terminal so far."
One of the Sailors responding to the call, Lt. Brianna McLeod, assigned to the Reserve maintenance team of Commander, Naval Force Atlantic (CNSL), says it was exciting to be a part of the Navy’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.
"During this chaotic and uncertain time, the men and women here, especially our Reserve Sailors, have stepped up and answered the call to continue the mission," said McLeod. "Taking every opportunity to support — however needed — the Sailors learned and executed everything from material processing and building pallets for transport to driving forklifts and loading aircraft. I am extremely proud to have had the privilege to be a part of the effort."
Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Karthiga Jordan, assigned to Carrier Strike Group Four (CSG 4), had her first experience as a cargo handler during the orders, and says she also learned a lot and hopes to put her new skills to work back home.
"I've been fortunate enough to work on my qualifications in preparation to obtain a civilian position as an aircraft freight loader once my orders have ended," Jordan said. "Best of all, I've had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who've made my time here rewarding and fulfilling. I'm truly grateful to have had this experience."
During a normal month, the Norfolk terminal handles an average of 330 aircraft, 8,000 passengers, 2.6 million pounds of cargo and 450 trucks. The Reserve surge of support has allowed critical supply chains depended on by forward deployed commands to remain constant during the significant reduction of the civilian workforce.
The mission of AMC Air Terminal, Norfolk is to provide strategic airlift through the sustained movement of personnel, high-priority cargo, munitions, weapons and mail via Air Mobility Command and Navy airlift. This mission is a vital component of the worldwide transportation and logistics pipeline.