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Manas Airmen Move Troops Into Afghanistan

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss
376th Air Expeditionary Wing

MANAS, Kyrgyzstan, April 6, 2010 – Airmen from the 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron here were busy in March, as they supported the surge of forces into Afghanistan, moving about 50,000 multinational, U.S. and coalition troops and issuing more than 12.5 million gallons of jet fuel.

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Marines en route to Afghanistan board a C-17 Globemaster III transport jet April 2, 2010, at the transit center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. In March, 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron airmen at Manas pushed through 50,000 multinational, U.S. and coalition troops. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson
  

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March passenger movements far surpassed the previous record of 36,000, set in November.

"It took a team effort from LRS airmen," said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Will Schwartz, the aerial port flight superintendent, who called his seven-member team "superstars."

He also credited transportation flight airmen, who moved the baggage bins and pallets, noting that 204,000 passengers have passed through the transit center here since October.

The surge has required around-the-clock work from the terminal counter, terminal yard and baggage representatives.

"The normal ops were consistently steady, but now it is truly busy," Schwartz said. "By comparison, in December, we moved 5,388 passengers by the third week. Within our third week of March, we moved about 12,000."

Air Force Airmen 1st Class Destin Noak and Dustin Hammond pumped 1 million gallons of jet fuel in March, working 12-hour shifts, six days a week.

“The 12-million gallon record was a team effort, but what these two guys did was an individual record,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Hunkins, who supervises both airmen. "The million-gallon club is a very exclusive club, and is quite an accomplishment at any installation, not just Manas."

Hunkins said he knows of only a few places where any airman has pumped that much fuel in a month, including Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and a base in Southwest Asia.

But there is a definite difference in how Noak and Hammond joined that club, he noted.

"At Ramstein Air Base and [in Southwest Asia], they use hydrant servicing vehicles, or hydrant pantographs, to issue fuel to an aircraft," he explained. "With this equipment, a person can issue up to about 40,000 gallons of fuel at one time. So using this equipment makes it a lot easier to issue a million gallons. Here at Manas, we have fuel trucks that issue approximately 5,000 gallons at one time. After that, the driver must fill his truck and go back out to the aircraft. So it would take a driver several trips to equal one HSV or pantograph run.

"In order for these guys to issue a million gallons of fuel in a month,” he continued, “they had to take more than 200 truck runs instead of the 25 to 50 runs it would take in an HSV/pantograph."

The 18-year veteran said he has never heard of anyone reaching the million-gallon milestone in a truck alone, let alone two people doing so in the same month.

"I would be willing to bet that this is the first time ever that two people pumped a million gallons of fuel in a single month using only the fuel trucks we have here," he said.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMarines en route to Afghanistan sit on a C-17 Globemaster III transport jet April 2, 2010, at the transit center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. In March, 376th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron airmen at Manas pushed through 50,000 multinational, U.S. and coalition troops. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nichelle Anderson  
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