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Centralized Cargo Operations unique team with critical mission

By Rachel Kersey | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Oct. 2, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

Since the onset of COVID-19, U.S. Armed Forces have taken precautions to ensure continued operations while mitigating the spread of the virus.  

One of the precautions taken by Joint Base San Antonio was adding a second Basic Military Training location at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to help better ensure physical distancing between recruits. Accomplishing this task required many other logistical modifications, and one group of people had a key role to play in achieving this.  

Joint Base San Antonio’s Centralized Cargo Operations is a unique enterprise where staff members have put in long hours to ensure new recruits have all the clothing needed to train effectively at BMT in Mississippi during the pandemic.  

“The CCO receives the documentation requesting to move clothing weekly,” said Alberto Mir, CCO supervisor. “The CCO clerk obtains a commercial carrier and ensures the clothing pallets and boxes are picked up on time and the required delivery date is met.”  

Located in Hangar 73 at JBSA-Randolph, CCO was activated in June 2013 to carry the loads most other cargo operations do not have to carry -- hence the name “Centralized.” 

“All joint bases have a freight and cargo outbound sections in each location,” Mir said. “JBSA combined JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston outbound freight section into a single section, the Centralized Cargo Operations. It supports U.S. Army South, U.S. Army North, the 12th Flying Training Wing, the 37th Training Group, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, and is responsible for all the south Texas area.” 

Currently, the CCO handles cargo outbound operations for all JBSA locations daily, with occasional shipments in support of training or specific operations, such as sending the uniforms to Keesler Air Force Base or hurricane relief supplies to affected areas. 

“Occasionally, the CCO moves cargo to the Caribbean and Central America in support of U.S. Army South, headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, or equipment from locations in all 48 states in support of hurricane relief operations for U.S. Army North,” Mir said.  

The idea behind consolidation was to utilize all of the freight clerks from the three Joint Base locations to support all units and customers from one location. While in some ways, this streamlines the shipping process, it also adds additional challenges for the staff members. 

“The freight clerk planning the shipment does not see the cargo and has to rely on the shipper’s documentation for weight and dimensions when selecting the correct vehicle to complete the mission,” Mir said. And, he said, there are only seven transportation assistant clerks. 

The small CCO team is responsible for routing and determining the most efficient and economical way to ship items, while also ensuring on-time delivery, using various modes of transportation to meet daily mission requirements, Mir said. 

“They are a small group with a big job, and they’ve been doing it well for many years,” he said.