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CMRE Airmen manage bare base logistics

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Justin Jacobs
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

 Joint logistical support to bare bases throughout Afghanistan requires a specialized team from the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron: the U. S. Central Command material recovery element.

Currently, a team of three CMRE Airmen are embedded with the U.S. Army for a period of 45 days to assist with expeditionary logistics operations at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport, Afghanistan.

“We received a call from the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force Afghanistan requesting support for Mazar-i-Sharif,” said Master Sgt. Cory Thomasson, 455th ELRS CMRE flight chief. “There was going to be two units conducting a [Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority] and needed help with airflow and in/out bound cargo.”

Based out of Bagram Airfield the CMRE  travels to austere locations throughout the area of responsibility to assist with receiving in-bound cargo that troops need, sending out-bound cargo to larger hubs, and helping to transition equipment and personnel back the U.S.

“The support we provide depends on the location,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Jensen, 455th ELRS CMRE supervisor. “Sometimes we just ship and receive cargo. Other locations we build the pallets and inspect for hazardous material and air worthiness, then get it onto the plane and get it sent out.”

Units that are in outlying bases, primarily U.S. Army and Marines, will contact the 455th ELRS CMRE and request such services. After a site survey, leadership will decide on what support they will be able to give the requesting unit.

“Here, we are going to be controlling the cargo yard and maintaining all in and out bound cargo,” said Jensen.

When asked what he hoped to accomplish while at MES, Jensen said they want to rework l the existing practices for moving equipment.

“We are here to help out and improve a process that is already in place,” said Jensen “Whether it be moving things around for organizational purposes or ensuring that all cargo gets built the proper way and movement of cargo gets accomplished.”

Working in a joint environment can bring challenges with having different operating procedures from the various branches of services. That’s why relationships are paramount to the success of any mission.

“For us relationships are everything,” said U.S. Army Capt. Rajan Dulamal, Forward Logistics Element - North officer-in-charge. Having an Air Force team working hand-in-hand with his team is new, he said.

For past rotations, the Army ream relied mainly on support via either electronic or telephone communications from their parent organization at Bagram Airfield.

With the CMRE on station, the movement of cargo and personnel will gain a much needed ease of logistical operations where the unit hadn’t previously had that luxury.

“With our unit, we go out to recover assets to send back to larger hubs such as Kandahar Airfield and Bagram Airfield,” said Jensen. “From there, the assets move onward back to stateside home stations.”

Besides helping with logistics of the RIP/TOA, the Airmen will help to facilitate an ease of movement to FOB Premiere and FOB Kundoz.

“This will greatly impact management of cargo to and from Premiere and Kundoz as MES is the logistics hub for both FOBs,” said Dulamal. “Having the Air Force here helps us out tremendously, improving our mission success.”

The contributions of the Airmen will have a vast impact on mission effectiveness for the U.S. Army troops, which in turn helps to foster the ongoing relationships with all branches of the military.

“We only work for other branches of the military,” said Jensen, “If we don’t have a good working relationship we won’t be able to get our mission done, and in the end the mission will fail.”