To reduce the number of coalition vehicles and
personnel required to travel Iraqi roads to deliver ground
cargo, the Army’s 1st Corps Support Command and the Marine
Corps’ 1st Marine Expeditionary Force worked together
to find a way to increase the amount of cargo being flown into
the Iraqi theater. Their efforts resulted in the creation of
the Joint Air Cargo Operations Team (JACOT). The JACOT, the
first interservice team of its kind, coordinates air assets
Before the establishment of JACOT, interservice cooperation was limited. The
Marine Corps operated traditional arrival and departure airfield control group
(ADACG) operations. It was responsible for loading and unloading passengers and
cargo arriving on Marine Corps helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Across the
airfield, an Air Force aerial port team and the Army’s 3d Platoon, 403d
Cargo Transfer Company (CTC), loaded and unloaded all cargo from other fixed-wing
military aircraft and commercial carriers. This operation worked, but it was
In June 2005, the Marine Corps 2d Force Service Support Group Forward and Combat
Logistics Regiment 25 took the lead in transitioning the ADACG and Strategic
ADACG into the JACOT. The transformation included collocating the personnel movement
side of the operation with the cargo movement side, including the transient billeting
area for incoming and outgoing units. The efficiencies gained were vital to the
successful deployment and redeployment of Army units in July, when over 8,000
Soldiers passed through the JACOT area of operations.
moves a load of tires in the Joint Air
Cargo Operations Team cargo yard.
The JACOT is unique because it involves all four military services. It now consists
of an Air Force tactical control element team, the Marines and Sailors of the
1st Force Service Support Group, an Army movement control team, and the cargo
handlers of the 403d CTC.
The Air Force tactical control element team brought the much-needed Deployable
Global Air Transportation Execution System (DGATES) technology to the operation.
DGATES allows the JACOT to track all aircraft that pass through and the amount
of cargo and personnel on each.
Cargo Operations Team members maneuver a crane into
position to place cargo at a cargo yard in Iraq.
The division of labor is what sets the JACOT apart. The Air
Force tactical control element team schedules flights, tracks
incoming air assets, and observes all moving equipment on
the airstrip to ensure that it is operated correctly. When
an aircraft approaches the field, Marines and Airmen working
in the air control tower notify the offload team—consisting
of Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen—waiting at the intermediate
staging point. When the aircraft ramp is lowered, the joint
team offloads the cargo. The average offload time for a full
C–17 is about 20 minutes.
Once the cargo is staged at the intermediate staging point,
the Army team moves the cargo into the cargo yard, where it
is sorted into designated lanes by Department
of Defense Activity Address Code or Reportable Item Control
Code. The cargo then is transported by ground to customer units
within 24 hours.
The JACOT concept has proven to be very successful in Iraq.
One benefit of having one central air cargo operations team
for the Iraqi theater is that it provides a one-stop shop for
cargo and passengers. The team has been able to use aircraft
more efficiently and, as a result, has maximized air transport
of passengers and cargo. Another benefit of the joint team
is its ability to share resources, which has reduced manpower
and equipment requirements for future operations.
As one JACOT member put it, “We’re one team. We’re
here for one fight. We do the same thing; we help each other
out. It’s a good feeling,”
Sergeant First Class
Lupe G. Galvan is the Platoon Sergeant of the 403d Cargo
Transfer Company at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He has a
degree in criminal justice and is a graduate of the Platoon
Leader Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer
Course, and Logistics Management Development Course.