Skip to comments.Airmen prepare BEAR base for troops in Afghanistan
Posted on 03/02/2010 5:16:00 PM PST by SandRat
3/2/2010 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- Holloman Air Force Base Airmen began the movement of approximately 150 truckloads of assets that will directly support joint and coalition forces in Afghanistan Feb. 24 here.
Members of the 49th Materiel Maintenance Group, the Air Force's only Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources base, have been working countless hours to prepare the equipment for movement since they were notified of the tasking in December 2009.
BEAR base is supplying 480,000 square feet of AM-2 matting that will be used to expand the expeditionary aircraft operations throughout Afghanistan. The amount of AM-2 matting BEAR base will provide is the equivalent of eight football fields, according to the 49th Materiel Maintenance Support Squadron commander, and is valued at more than $15 million.
Logisticians and engineers from Holloman AFB will also provide expeditionary base facilities and equipment to establish three 550-person encampments, valued at $10 million, for joint service forces in the area of responsibility.
"If you look at that capability, we will be able to provide a home for more than 1,500 Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in a matter of months ... to help our sister services expand their capabilities and take the fight to the enemy," said Maj. AaBram Marsh, the 49th Materiel Maintenance Support Squadron commander. "The level of effort that our folks have done here to expand the combatant commander's capabilities in the AOR is extraordinary."
The other main player in the deployment has been the 49th LRS as Holloman's deployment command and control unit. The squadron has been in charge of planning and coordinating the movement over the past four months.
"All of the requirements come down through LRS ... we are the coordination piece between BEAR, the wing and the command and control nodes," said 1st Lt. Timothy Hubler, 49th LRS acting installation deployment officer.
The squadrons have also worked closely with the 49th Security Forces Squadrons since trucks started rolling onto base to pick up the equipment.
"We're going to receive approximately 25 or so trucks a day for the remainder of this week and then multiple trucks coming next week and the week after, so that is a lot of traffic coming through the installation," Major Marsh said. "This is a total Team Holloman effort."
This deployment will mark the first time Holloman has sent BEAR assets in its new multi-modal configuration as opposed to transporting them by air. The containerized cargo will travel by truck, sea and railway all the way to its final destination in Afghanistan.
"This is all surface and that's what makes this unique. When we think Air Force we're thinking we're going to put some airplanes out there on the ramp," Major Marsh said. "What we have done is reconfigured many of those assets for surface ... and that makes it more efficient. That's actually big news for us because it's a never-been-done-before deal."
The team will continue the movement in the upcoming weeks, and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command will provide in-transit visibility of the cargo to ensure a timely and safe delivery.
"[The SDDC] is making sure we move these assets from here all the way to Afghanistan," Major Marsh said.
The mission of the 49th Materiel Maintenance Group is to provide mission-ready equipment for global power and reach -- anytime, anywhere, at a moment's notice, and BEAR Airmen prepare daily for a tasking such as this.
"Our Airmen are very excited because for years, not much has moved out except for people," Major Marsh said. "We provide countless Airmen downrange for multiple operations, but they've not gotten to see all the work that they've done to build this new capability."
The squadron commander said he could not be more proud of his Airmen for their hard work that will directly impact the lives of those serving downrange, including some of their own.
"The amount of effort that our folks go through to make this happen is extraordinary," he said. "I'm just so very proud of each and every one of them."
Airman 1st Class Olga Apairna installs steal straps on a container of AM-2 matting prior to its shipment to Afghanistan Feb. 24, 2010,
at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Airman Apairna is assigned to the 49th Materiel Maintenance Support Squadron.
The 49th MMSS is deploying 480,000 square feet of the matting that will be assembled to create airstrips supporting joint and coalition forces throughout Afghanistan.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joe Laws)