Skip to comments.U.S., Luxembourg partnership supports U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan
Posted on 03/05/2010 5:46:52 PM PST by SandRat
3/5/2010 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- As President Barack Obama's plan to plus up U.S. forces in Afghanistan goes into motion, members of the 86th Materiel Maintenance Squadron here are helping one of U.S. Air Force's in Europe's largest movement of war readiness materiel since Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
"The pure size of it alone is daunting," said Master Sgt. Edward Watson, the 86th MMS Engineering and Materiel Management Flight chief. "When we're asked to do something like this everybody steps up and brings their game face. They're working seven days a week, (and) 14, 16 hour days. They know how important it is, and morale is really high."
Operating from the Central Region Storage Facility in Sanem, Luxembourg, the 86th MMS and Warehouses Service Agency members are already well into the process of moving 354,240 square feet of AM-2 airfield matting, and enough basic expeditionary airfield resources materiel to build six forward operating bases for 3,500 military forces in Afghanistan.
"This is truly a unique logistics challenge," said Lt. Col. Adrian Crowley, the 86th MMS commander. "It's 6 million pounds of war readiness material by planes, trains, trucks and ships across multiple countries and continents."
Shipments leave the Central Region Storage Facility by truck to be airlifted, moved by rail or by sea to their various locations in the area of responsibility.
The total outload would require 200 trucks just to get the war readiness material to various ports, which would equate to 80 C-17 Globemaster III equivalents if it were all airlifted, Colonel Crowley said.
"We're actually stressing the logistics system not only here in Central Europe, but also all the way to Eastern Europe and even across Russia and several countries bordering Afghanistan," he said. "We are learning quite a bit about the logistics of doing such a massive outload in such a short amount of time."
The basic expeditionary airfield resources base concept involves a combination of modules that create living and operating space for 550 people in an austere setting, to include sleeping quarters, shower and shave units, laundry, kitchen, latrine, electrical power, heating and cooling.
"It's everything you would need to stand up, build, and sustain a bare base," Colonel Crowley said.
Most of the equipment headed into Afghanistan has been kept in a "ready to deploy" state at the Central Region Storage Facility since 2005, where the war readiness material, a partner company representing the government of Luxembourg, has continuously kept the gear in brand-new condition. In this status, the equipment is capable of outload within 48 hours.
The Central Region Storage Facility is home to close to 95 percent of USAFE's war reserve materiel which includes vehicles, aerospace ground equipment, fuels, mobility support equipment, aircraft and tanks, and other airfield support equipment items valued at more than $400 million.
"The main mission here is to receive the equipment, to inspect it, to repair it, do cyclic maintenance and occasional shipping actions," said Norbert Giampellegrini, the war readiness material general manager. "We are also here to support any rapid deployment or contingency mission. I think there is no bigger motivation for (Warehouses Service Agency), than to participate in such an important mission. We had no problem to convince the people, or to motivate them to do overtime."
Working side-by-side with the 86th MMS, Warehouses Service Agency members have given up weekends and national holidays to push through this outload for the last two months, and another month is in store. Their plan is to keep working until the work is done.
"Everyone has been very excited," Colonel Crowley said. "One team, one fight, in that regard. We train day in and day out to store and maintain these assets to the best of our ability, but there's a special satisfaction to actually being able to deploy them. We couldn't be more proud with the attitude and the motivation level from both sides."
Because the items are considered an Air Force weapon system, they are being funded by the Joint Staff for replenishment, which equates to about $70 million for the 176,000 war readiness material assets dedicated to the one-way deployment.
"The Air Force has decided we're all in on this deployment," he said. "It's a case where an Air Force weapon system is going out the door to help our joint partners."
"No one ever pays attention to WRM until you need it," Sergeant Watson said. "Everyone's taking their job very seriously. They're really having fun seeing their hard work throughout the years (resulting in the war readiness material) getting pushed out the door and accomplishing something for the warfighter. They take great pride in that."
The Warehouses Service Agency was established and designated by the government of Luxembourg to perform all the services set forth in a memorandum of understanding between Luxembourg and the United States dating back to December 1978. The U.S. Air Force initiated operations at the Central Region Storage Facility in 1994 and oversees WSA site operations.
"The success of this operation is a testament to the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and our NATO partners," said Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon, 86th Airlift Wing commander. "Team Ramstein is proud to support this joint effort as a force provider bringing a unique and critical combat support weapon system to the warfighters in Afghanistan."
The deployment surge, announced in December 2009 by President Obama, was initiated by the Department of Defense and supported by NATO.
Tech. Sgt. Stevenson Johnson and local members of the Warehouses Service Agency load an AM-2
matt landing strip Feb. 22, 2010 at the Central Region Storage Facility, at Sanem, District of Luxembourg,
in support of ongoing war efforts. Sergeant Johnson is from the 86th Material Maintenance Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong)
Luxembourg secretly wants to rule the world.
the mighty Luxembourg War Machine on the march!
Luxembourgers are about the only ones left in Europe who remember and appreciate the sacrifice of the American forces in WWII. Gen. Patton is buried at the US cemetery at Hamm. Say anthing bad about Patton in Luxembourg and prepare for a fight!