Airmen forward deployed from the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram Airfield are helping to provide a vital role in moving personnel and supplies in northern Afghanistan.
Members of the 455th EAPS Detachment 3 are tasked with loading and unloading every U.S. aircraft that that comes in and out of Camp Marmal, moving more than 2,600 pounds of cargo and 220 personnel each month.
The military camp is at a forward operating base primarily home to German forces near Mazar-e Sharif, the fourth largest city in Afghanistan. U.S. forces first used the FOB’s airfield during the initial incursion into the country and it still plays a critical role for operations throughout Afghanistan.
Camp Marmal’s EAPS detachment is mixed with airmen from the Guard, Reserve and Active Duty. Together they work to sustain and support combat operations for U.S. forces in FOBs located throughout Afghanistan.
“We are the sole Air Force aerial port representatives for this installation,” said Master Sgt. Joel Graham, 455th EAPS Detachment 3 chief. “We also support the Army, some coalition forces and the recent retrograde operations.”
With the upcoming retrograde movement, the team’s operation tempo has increased in an effort to assist with the transfer of equipment and personnel transitioning out of the country.
Bagram Airfield forward deployed three additional Airmen to the camp to help with the drawdown and retrograde.
“Right now there is a surge in movement at Camp Marmal,” said Lt. Col. Luther King, 455th EAPS commander. “That is why we decided to send the additional Airmen to help.”
The increase in personnel was welcomed by the Camp Marmal aerial porters such as Airman 1st Class Robert Williams.
“We can move up to 100 pallets in a single day,” said Williams, deployed from the 60th Aerial Port Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. “This was a skeleton crew that needed more people.”
Each member was handpicked by King to represent BAF at Camp Marmal because of their skill set and the need for the Airmen to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining.
Together the EAPS Airmen show they are all experts of their craft as each airman takes a turn palletizing and then driving cargo to aircraft on the flightline.
“I couldn’t ask for better group to come out here and work with,” said Graham. “These airmen do everything they can to make the mission happen.”