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Moving people and material, the Air Force way

Members of the 34th Aerial Port Squadron unload a KC-135R Stratotanker at General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, Milwaukee, WI.  The 34th APS, formerly attached to the 440th Air Reserve Base, works alongside the 128th Air Refueling Wing to meet the mission requirements for the state of Wisconsin and in the Global War on Terror.  (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel)

Members of the 34th Aerial Port Squadron unload a KC-135R Stratotanker at General Mitchell Air National Guard Base, Milwaukee, WI. The 34th APS, formerly attached to the 440th Air Reserve Base, works alongside the 128th Air Refueling Wing to meet the mission requirements for the state of Wisconsin and in the Global War on Terror. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kenneth Pagel)

MILWAUKEE, WI -- Have you ever wondered who is responsible for loading an aircraft? 

Do you know who to talk with for a space available flight? 

The answer to both of those questions is the Small Air Terminal, located on the first floor of building 500 at General Mitchell Air Field here. 

The SAT handles all cargo and passenger missions on base, said Master Sgt. Jim Jungwirth, an assistant non-commissioned officer in charge of the 128th Air Refueling Wing's Small Air Terminal. 

Regarding the preparation of cargo for transport by air, the SAT has three key tasks: load planning, joint inspections and cargo deployment functions, Jungwirth said. 

However, space-available flights are the SAT's best-known function, Jungwirth said. 

Space-A flights allow unused seats aboard U.S. military aircraft to be filled by military members, family members of a military sponsor, or retired military members. 

"Space-A does require flexibility, but it can take a servicemember both stateside and overseas," Jungwirth said. 

There are six categories of Space-A seats. Category one is offered to military members who request travel in connection with a serious illness or death in his or her family, while category six is offered to Reserve Component members and retirees. 

However, military members traveling under active-duty orders can bring their family members on the flights, Jungwirth said. Members returning from being deployed may be able to travel with their families if their orders don't expire right away, Jungwirth said. 

"Aircraft are flying, and people might as well utilize the flights," Jungwirth said. "They're a benefit to being in the military." 

The 34th Aerial Port Squadron from the 440th Air Reserve Base here relocated to the 128th ARW and became the current small air terminal. The SAT here has been recognized by the Air National Guard for its performance, and has set benchmarks for other ANG small air terminals to follow. 

The SAT recently returned from Rammstein Air Base, Germany, where it conducted its first-ever annual training tour with the 128th ARW.