NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.–National Defense Transportation Week was held May 15–19 to celebrate the contributions of vehicle operators and first responders.
The theme for this year’s National Defense Transportation Week, “Optimizing for Smarter Travel,” focused on researching efficient and economically friendly ways to transport personnel and cargo across the world.
National Defense Transportation Week allows vehicle operators and first responders to showcase their vehicles and answer any questions people have for them, said Staff Sgt. Arthur Singletary, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in charge of operator records and licensing.
The local week-long celebration included multiple touch-a-truck events at which anyone could see the vehicles used across base. Another event was a vehicle roll-over recovery simulation where vehicle operators and firefighters responded to a simulated car crash. The week concluded with a skills competition where vehicle operators challenged each other in events like a forklift cone stack, a 14-ton wrecker recovery and a forklift water bucket maneuverability challenge.
“People who were interested in what we do came out to see and touch our vehicles as well as talked to the people who use them on a day-to-day basis,” said Singletary.
This celebration promoted the value of vehicle operators and first responders while helping to educate the public about the role they play in the first few crucial minutes of saving someone’s life. Staff Sgt. Bloomfield Yarbrough III, 99th LRS NCO in charge of training and validations, said you will always see vehicle operators working alongside police, firefighters and paramedics.
In a situation where a vehicle is overturned with people still inside, Yarbrough said it is the vehicle operators’ responsibility to respond quickly and put the vehicle back on its wheels. Firefighters will remove the doors, windshield and even the roof of the vehicle to evacuate them, and the paramedics will provide first aid, said Yarbrough.
Vehicle operators are not just first responders, Yarbrough said they also are responsible for safely transporting Airmen between Nellis AFB and Creech Air Force Base three times a day.
The vehicles that fall within operators’ responsibility range from anything as small as a forklift, to a wrecker recovery vehicle that can carry more than 10 tons or a fuel truck that holds nearly 6,000 gallons of jet fuel.
“This week we showed the rest of the military members on base exactly what we do,” said Yarbrough. “There’s a lot more that comes to vehicle operations than what people usually think and our mission has a huge impact on the base.”
The selflessness of vehicle operators and first responders is reflected in their commitment to being prepared for anything, at home or in a deployed environment, and plays a vital role in saving lives.