A Sept. 23 front-page story and picture described the “short notice” deployment of seven members of the 265th Combat Communications Squadron, Maine Air National Guard, to the hurricane-battered U.S. Virgin Islands.

In the photo caption, a front-end loader/forklift is described as “a trailer” that is being “backed onto a plane bound for St. Croix.” As a retired, 28-year member of the U.S. Air Force and the 265th CCS, I diplomatically want to clarify the description.

The front-end loader/forklift is about to load a pallet into the cargo bay of a C-130 Hercules four-engine cargo aircraft. The pallet is wrapped in a clear poly bag with the contents precisely labeled and loaded to fit the width, length and height of the C-130’s cargo bay dimensions.

The C-130 Hercules is the workhorse of the U.S. military’s and Air National Guard’s airlift squadrons. The cargo on the pallet is secured with ratchet-type web cargo straps. Then the pallet itself is rolled onto the cargo bay floor and secured.

As the story notes, we are constantly training for such short-notice deployments – for example, to Vermont in 2011 after Irene roared through the Green Mountain State.

I served in the 265th Combat Communications Squadron from 1976 to 1996 – a very proud squadron of men and women ready at all times.

Dennis Marrotte