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Downrange Air Force convoy support center opens

by Capt. Christopher Moore
386th Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs

11/27/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- The cutting of a chain linking two tractor trailers marked the opening of the 586th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron's new convoy support center Nov. 24 in Southwest Asia. 

The new eight-tent center consolidates all of the Air Force convoy support functions here into one area and increases efficiency by positioning those functions next to the truck staging area, where they are most needed.

"We now have larger work areas, stabilized power and more robust and reliable lines of communication," said Lt. Col. Kevin Sampels, the 586th ELRS commander. "These improvements will assist our convoy teams in delivering critical supplies to the trigger pullers in Iraq."

About 320 Airmen are assigned to the 70th and 424th Medium Truck detachments, which is part of the 586 ELRS. These vehicle operators, maintainers, supply technicians, communications and security forces Airmen supply servicemembers in Iraq by operating convoys on some of the most dangerous roads in the world, Colonel Sampels said.

The convoy support center was the brain child of Master Sgt. Charles Smith of the 70th MTD. However, it took Airmen, Soldiers, and Sailors working together to make the center a reality.

"The Army was critical in helping with the local approval processes and securing certain equipment. The Navy trenched through more than 800 feet of sun-baked earth for our communication lines, and the Air Force provided tents, generators and other support for this project," Colonel Sampels said. "It's fitting that this center was build by a joint team because it ultimately supports Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors operating in the farthest reaches of Iraq."

This new center will allow the military to do an even better job of restoring peace to Iraq, said Col. Bob Swisher, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing commander.

"These convoys allow us to keep Iraq moving toward a self sufficient country," he said. "We're their life blood right now, and our warriors moving this cargo in and out is a vital part of the stabilization process."

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