Afghanistan Resupply Missions Keep Troops in Fight
By Spc. Cheryl Ransford, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan, Nov. 12, 2004 Throughout Afghanistan, units rely on each other for mission accomplishment. One example of this was apparent during a sling-load mission conducted by Logistics Task Force 524.
Army Sgt. Matthew Targgart (left) and 1st Lt. Jose Carmona,
Logistics Task Force 524, hook a pallet of ammunition to a CH-47 Chinook
helicopter for delivery to soldiers at Forward Operating Base Lwara,
Afghanistan. Photo by Spc. Cheryl Ransford, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The task force sling-loaded more than 8,000 pounds of ammunition to another unit at Forward Operating Base Lwara in eastern Afghanistan. As part of their mission at FOB Salerno, LTF 524 is responsible for controlling the flow of ammunition.
"We received an alert from Lwara the morning of Oct. 9, saying that one of the units was in direct contact with the enemy and was in need of more ammunition," said 1st Sgt. Lamont Hall, of the logistics task force. Since the ammunition was needed as soon as possible, Hall decided the best course of action was to have the ammunition sling-loaded from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
"We were lucky to have the Chinook available since we don't have any assigned to Salerno," said Cpl. Brad White, a squad leader with LTF 524. "But either way, we were ready to do whatever it took to accomplish the mission."
As soon as the alert was received, Hall put together a team of sling-load personnel to handle the request. "I selected four other personnel from the sling-load team to assist in delivering the ammunition and bringing back the sling-load equipment," he said.
Once the aircraft was ready go, Hall's team was on their way to provide assistance to their comrades at Lwara. "There was one team flying to Lwara to recover the equipment and a second team that was designated to hook up the ammunition to the aircraft," he said.
When they arrived in Lwara, the situation had calmed and the unit was ready to receive the ammunition. "It is hard to tell how the delivery affected the unit, since we were only on the ground for a short time. But from the size of the delivery, it is safe to say the unit was running very low on ammunition after the contact they had received earlier that day," said Hall.
Being able to supply other units is what the sling-load and ammunition teams of LTF 524 remain constantly prepared for, said White. "It feels good to know that you are able to do something to help others," he said. "Even though we don't know the servicemembers we helped, we know we made a difference and possibly saved (lives) by delivering the ammunition."
(Army Spc. Cheryl Ransford is assigned to the 17th Public Affairs Detachment.)