TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – When someone explains their love for aircraft, you expect to hear stories of their first experience of an F-22 Raptor roaring down the runway or an A-10 Thunderbolt screeching through the sky, not an F-4 Phantom soaring through the air with a tight grasp of the hand and the smacking of the lips to mimic engine rumble.
What started out as a family activity with Airman 1st Class Benjamin Morris, his twin brother and father, turned into a hobby that would influence his career path in the United States Air Force.
“Since building that very first model aircraft with my brother and father I loved it,” said Morris, 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron aerial port specialist. “In my bedroom at home, I have at least 15 aircraft hanging from my ceiling.”
He went on to add the F-4 Phantom was his favorite aircraft to build.
His love for building military aircraft continued to grow during high school once he joined the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and was part of the drill team.
“Once I joined JROTC I knew I wanted to be a part of the military,” he said. “The Air Force was my top choice because of the opportunity to be around aircraft. The fact that I can go on a C-5 Super Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster and a C-130 Hercules to load and unload cargo is an awesome experience.”
Morris added, even if he didn’t get the chance to work on aircraft or be a part of loading them, just the opportunity to join the Air Force and be close to them would have been enough.
Since joining the Air Force and completing his training, Morris has been stationed with the 621st Contingency Response Wing working hard.
“My favorite part about being in the CRW is the hard work,” said Morris. “As a port dawg the CRSS work never stops, there’s always cargo to be moved and items that need to be inspected before flying out.”
Morris added that the hard work may be his favorite part, but the camaraderie between his team members makes completing the mission that much easier.
During his time in the 821st CRSS, Morris had the opportunity to spend time in Guatemala where he participated in a joint exercise with the Guatemalan armed forces
“Having the opportunity to work with Guatemalan forces was fun,” he said. “It’s always a great opportunity and learning experience when you get the chance to travel the world and work with other U.S. forces as well as other countries.”
Morris also has participated in numerous of other exercises while in the 821st CRSS to include Turbo Distribution. He also will be attending exercise Cerberus Strike.
“Airman Morris is an extremely motivated Airman who is not afraid to think outside the box to accomplish a task," said Capt. Christian Ocasio, 821st CRSS support flight commander. “As an A1C he is operating and handling tasks a junior NCO would handle. He’s really great to work with.”
He currently spends his spare time building a C-5 Galaxy model aircraft.
As one of only two contingency response support squadrons in the 621st CRW, the units’ roles and missions are as diverse as the personnel that make up the squadron. Airmen in 43 distinct Air Force specialty codes, across 20 separate functional areas, support a sole contingency response group, and the 621st Air Mobility Advisory Group, with both operational and support missions. These missions run the gamut, from a contingency response team and joint task force port-opening support elements, to communication security, armory and deployment team management.