89th Aerial Port Squadron: Air Mobility Command's cornerstone of excellence
By Bobby Jones, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 03, 2012
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- If you envision a Fortune 500 Company, you might think of an institution that has a long-standing reputation for commitment, respect from its shareholders and one that has made few mistakes to reach its pinnacle of success.
Although the 89th Aerial Port Squadron is not on that list, it has garnered respect for its commitment and dedication to its high-level shareholders and clientele throughout the Air Force.
Within the Joint Base Andrews community, the 89 APS performs their mission with the SAM FOX motto of "Excellence In All We Do." In fact, if you step inside the 89 APS main building, you'll notice a sign hanging prominently in the overhead rafters which says "Target, Zero Accidents." The safety term is standard practice for Airmen assigned to the 89 APS community.
The 89 APS, which falls under Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing, is responsible for supporting all transportation activities in association with aircraft movement to include all dignitaries such as the President, Vice President, heads of state and Department of Defense aircraft. The prestigious mission is a continuous task that the 89 APS members meet with zeal.
"Just the nature of supporting Air Force One is very exciting," said Tech. Sgt. Craig Sifford, 89 APS, NCO in charge of Alpha Flight's aircraft services and passenger operations. "In your military career, it's kind of a once-in-a lifetime deal to support Presidential missions. For people who don't transit through or come to this base, the closest they might come to seeing the President is on T.V. Here, in some cases, some of my Airmen may end up an 'arms-reach' from the most powerful man in America. Just knowing that our support make his missions happen is worth it. It's kept me excited for all these years and I get a very powerful and gratifying feeling once the mission is completed."
The SAM FOX spirit is even more apparent in the younger Airmen assigned to the 89 APS aircraft services division.
"This job constantly keeps us on the go," said Staff Sgt. Roman Ramirez, 89 APS aircraft services specialist. "But we get a thrill when we are able to provide support at this level.
It's amazing how everyone volunteers and has a good time when they support a presidential mission.
"When we're pushing it to the limit to get the job done that's when the SAM FOX attitude shines through most."
At the other end of the flight line, the 89 APS Special Air Mission Passenger Terminal personnel handle every aspect of support from the 'meet and greet' of Distinguished Visitors along with Protocol, to luggage support and passenger manifest for active-duty, reserve and Space-A flight passengers.
"We are the front runners of the SAM FOX mission," said Tech. Sgt. Manquel Abdusalaam, 89 APS shift supervisor. "We provide staircase support and fleet services, which includes ensuring that the water we supply to them is sterile as well as servicing the lavatory."
Additionally, the 89 APS Passenger Terminal members support passenger coordination and DV transportation from the aircraft to DV lounge, to include the VC-25 aircraft.
"Our operations here are 24/7. It doesn't stop." said Abdusalaam. "For the most part, Airmen are really enthusiastic about coming to the 89thAerial Port Squadron, especially if they already have first-hand knowledge of what we do at Andrews. But, I don't think it really sinks in until they see that big blue and white plane land or experience some of the other heads of state coming down the staircase.
"That's when I believe it becomes more of a reality to them and the importance of their jobs. We try hard to display excellence in all we do by putting forth that extra effort to provide the best service to not just to our DV passengers, but our Space-A travelers and retirees as well. We try to provide the best support we can from the top down."