Face of Defense: Afghanistan-deployed Airmen Move People, Cargo
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
455th Air Expeditionary Wing
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Oct. 31, 2013 The mission of the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron is to move passengers and cargo in and out of Afghanistan.
Air Force Senior Airman James Harrison offloads cargo from a K-loader at Forward Operating Base Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
On Camp Marmal adjacent to Forward Operating Base Mazar-E-Sharif and the city’s airport, 16 airmen assigned to the 455th EAPS detachment perform a variety of daily tasks to include passenger services, special handling, ramp services and working the air terminal’s operations center.
The detachment moves more than 2,600 tons of cargo and 2,200 personnel each month.
"We are not as busy as our counterparts on Bagram Airfield, but we process anywhere from one to 10 missions a day between the day and night shifts," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Garrett Ingram, a 455th EAPS aerial port specialist deployed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and a native of San Marcos, Calif.
When a plane arrives, the airmen ensure it is safely parked on the ramp and then escort passengers off.
Afterward, an airman unloads cargo, which can include pallets or vehicles. The EAPS personnel also upload cargo.
A big part of the 455 EAPS’s mission is integrating with joint forces to move people and cargo, said Air Force Senior Airman James Harrison, a 455th EAPS aerial port journeyman from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.
"We support all the forces on Mazar-E-Sharif," said Harrison, who also hails from Charleston. "We have moved cargo for the Germans, Turkish [troops] and all the U.S. service members -- even Coast Guard.
“Our mission here is important,” he added, “because items don't really get moved without us."