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A Shinto priest waves a purification wand over those assembled at the Mechanized Material Handling System ribbon cutting ceremony on March 23, 2015, at Yokota AB, Japan. Air Force photo by SrA. Desiree Economides.

A new mechanized materials system is now operational at Yokota AB, Japan, giving the mobility hub more capacity and speed to process cargo operations in theater, according to a Pacific Air Forces release. The $32 million system replaces an older system first delivered in 1992 and speeds up and automates the processing of cargo, so mobility airmen can get missions off the ramp faster, said Lt. Col. Wes Adams, 730th Air Mobility Squadron commander. The new MMHS slashes loading times by nearly a third, going from four hours to only one, according to Yokota officials. An enclosed system now protects up to 265 pallets from weather conditions, and there are more staging docks for cargo, with 16 docks now available as opposed to only six previously. Now the facility can position up to 96 pallets at once for transit to waiting aircraft. Similar systems are in place at Ramstein AB, Germany; Dover AFB, Del., and JB Charleston, S.C., but the Yokota MMHS is currently the only system operating in the Asia-Pacific. Yokota is a large cargo hub for freight transiting to and from US bases in theater, and its capacity and airmen are frequently called upon to support major humanitarian airlift operations.