“Port Dawgs” get ready to challenge their peers

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Frank Casciotta
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Reservists with the 39th Aerial Port Squadron here are sharpening their skills in preparation for the Air Force Reserve Command’s biannual Port Dawg Challenge where they will compete with approximately 30 other squadrons from across the U.S. at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, April 22-26.

For more than 10 years the competition has given aerial port squadrons, who often refer to themselves as “port dawgs,” within AFRC the chance to prove to each other who’s best at their job.

“When you go to the Port Dawg Challenge, you get to compete in every single thing that we do,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Meyer, the 39th APS senior air reserve technician. “Our people get more training opportunities in this competition--in less than a week, than they can get during a two-week training period somewhere else. I love the Port Dawg Challenge for that reason alone.”

During the week-long competition, teams of six from each squadron will compete in 13 timed events centered on routine tasks they would perform on the job. Points are awarded based on time, task completion and following proper procedures.

Though the competition is fierce as teams vie for bragging rights, Tech. Sgt. Meagan Hasty, one of the 39th APS’s team members for the competition this year, says it’s also an opportunity for her and her team to plan their future Annual Training tours based on other squadrons' performances.

“With us being here at Peterson, we don’t have some of the normal (air transportation) missions here, so we travel to these other ports to see how they operate.” said Hasty. “Once we figure out what works best, we can build our own ways of doing things that work for us.”

Though they didn’t compete in 2017 -- many of them were deployed overseas supporting Operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve -- the 39th APS did, however, earn a reputation that year and plan to defend it.   

“We won some big awards so we’ve got a lot to prove this year,” said Hasty. “With this team, we’ve got a good shot at winning this year.”

Since their last appearance at the Port Dawg Challenge in 2015, the 39th APS earned the Air Force Reserve Command’s National Defense Transportation and Air Transportation Activity of the Year awards in 2017.

The competition has opened up and is allowing active-duty Air Force and Air National Guard teams to compete this year.

“I’m excited active duty is participating this year,” said Meyer. “We have shown time and again on deployments that we perform at the same level they do. This time we can show them in a competitive setting and that will be fun.”