Heavy machinery helps hoist 17 pallets onto a huge DC-10 sitting on the runway at the Air National Guard Base in Gulfport. The pallets are packed with supplies and equipment from the Seabee Base. The materials could be used by Seabees to build air strips, barracks and bridges.
"We were told over the weekend that on Monday morning, start building pallets. That's what we did. We got the crews out there, went in 12 hour shifts, 24 hour operation," Crew Supervisor Michael Clodfelter said.
It's a delicate operation for crews on the ground as well as those on the plane. They must make sure the cargo is loaded properly, so the plane is balanced. It also takes a lot of muscle power to guide the pallets along and lock them into place. This military maneuver gives the Seabees a great hands-on lesson.
"I've never done this before. I'm learning how to load an aircraft. There are weight restrictions and height restrictions, and shapes of the pallets to consider. It's a good skill to know in case we have to do it in the future," Seabee Lonnie Hensley said.
Once all 64,000 pounds of cargo is in place, the plane is ready to take off to any destination in the world. Since America began its build-up to possible war with Iraq, the Seabee Base in Gulfport has stepped up its operation to get supplies and equipment to its units deployed around the world.