445th AW reservists fly snow removal equipment to Afghanistan
By Stacy Vaughn, 445th Public Affairs
/ Published December 23, 2009
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 445th Airlift Wing participated with the Air Force Security Assistance Center and the 88th Air Base Wing Dec. 23 to transport two snow removal vehicles and associated snow removal equipment from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to its final destination of Kabul, Afghanistan. The plows will be used to clear runways at Kabul International Airport for the Afghan National Army Air Corps.
The project started when AFSAC received a request from their Air Force mentor personnel at the Combined Air Power Transition Force in Kabul that there was a need for snow removal equipment.
"It could have taken at least 10 months to receive the snow removal equipment and have it shipped to Afghanistan. However, we were able to get two snow removal vehicles with their appropriate equipment that were designated for the Niagara Falls Air National Guard Base diverted to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from their starting point in Wisconsin so they could be sent to Kabul," Scott Clark, Command Country Manager, Afghanistan, Air Force Security Assistance Center, said.
The equipment, which includes two snow removal vehicles, two 20 feet plow blades and two 18 feet rotary brooms and spare parts, were purchased via a foreign military sales case for $1.2 million.
Mr. Clark said the mentors were hoping the equipment could be delivered by November. He said they had two options to ship the equipment; by boat or by plane. If by boat, the cargo would go to Karachi, Pakistan, then loaded on a truck to travel more than 600 miles to Kabul. The customer requested that they be sent on a special assignment airlift mission to their destination, meeting the group's planned goal for the arrival of the equipment.
"We put in a request for a SAAM (special assignment airlift mission) and found out a C-5 Galaxy from the 445th Airlift Wing was available. Flying the equipment by air will only take a couple days instead of weeks," Mr. Clark said.
Mike Campbell, 88th Air Base LGS, airfreight terminal manager, said his staff has been heavily involved in the project for the last month and a half.
"This is the first time that any of this equipment has been air lifted. Our job is to make sure all the cargo is properly prepared, and that weights and balances are configured correctly before it is brought out to the plane and loaded. Cargo like this makes the job fun and challenging," Mr. Campbell said.
Because of the size of the snow plows--26 feet long by 12 feet high, with a weight of approximately 97,000 pounds, the C-5 is the only aircraft available to handle such a load.
"The C-17 was considered but it was not big enough. The C-5 was our only option because of the type of cargo it can hold," Mr. Clark said.
The snow plows and equipment should arrive in time for use before needed.