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Pope, Bragg (now Fort Liberty) team for successful mission

  • Published
  • By Rhonda Griffin
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The joint effort of Pope and Fort Bragg in getting supplies to grief-torn Haiti is proof that military branches can successfully work together to make a difference.

When the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, of Fort Bragg was tagged as a supplemental element in the U.S.'s humanitarian relief efforts after last week's earthquake leveled most of the island of Haiti, the 3rd Aerial Port Squadron also went on full alert at the A/DACG. The squadron's role is to assist with getting the 2nd BCT's supplies ready for transport.

The Soldiers are notified of what supplies are needed and immediately go to work getting the provisions, from food and water to trucks and equipment, prepared to be loaded for flight. The cargo is positioned at the A/DACG and then inspected by 3rd APS to ensure they are safe for travel on the aircraft. Then the Soldiers and Airmen work together to get the supplies loaded and on the move.

"The process is very time critical," said Tech. Sgt. Ronald Ahlstrom, 3rd APS. "The priorities of needs over there change so quickly and we have to be prepared for that. We have to ensure that the right people get the right equipment."

"The process is very fluid," added Master Sgt. Jeff Powell, 3rd APS. "We have to be flexible due to the changes in requirements from downrange."

The teamwork of everyone involved to complete the process is impressive, to say the least, said Sergeant Ahlstrom.

"We have Army, Air Force and civilians all working together to make this happen," he said. "That makes this place very unique."

"The flow of equipment once we get here goes pretty smooth," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Charlie Bell, who serves as one of the liaisons between the Air Force, Army and the civilians who run the A/DACG. "We're working closely with the civilians here at the A/DACG.

"The Air Force are the experts in making sure the equipment is prepared to standard to go on their planes," he added. "We would be here for days without them. We know jumping, but we don't know the aircraft like they do."

"We've come a long way since Katrina," Sergeant Ahlstrom said of the 2005 disaster that devastated New Orleans, La. "Since then we've had a lot more training and preparation for these situations. We're doing the same things now as we always do for Joint Forcible Entry Exercises, but now we're doing it for real."

"Our job is to support the warfighter," said Mike Clever who supervises the activities at the A/DACG. "A Soldier shouldn't have to worry about water or food. The cargo has to get married up with the right Soldier at the right time."

Mr. Clever said the process is seamless between all of the parties involved to get the mission completed. "APS is working together with us, leaning as far forward to help as possible," he said. "I've been here since 2002 and this relationship has never been as good as it is now."

The entire process is a challenge, Mr. Clever added, with the biggest obstacle being the changing needs in Haiti. "But it will all happen," he said. "It will all get loaded on time. We have to move the pieces and get the unit out of here with what is needed."