New mobility bag
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Gesty, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing
/ Published January 12, 2006
SOUTHWEST ASIA --
A new mobility-bag process will now “lighten” the load of deployed members and save the Air Force money, too.
The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing and two other locations are test sites for a new process to preposition mobility bags and chemical warfare defense equipment in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
An Air Force message stated the effort is in line with the Air Force’s vision to improve agile combat support as people deploy, and help reduce excess-baggage charges and the number of aircraft seats lost due to weight restrictions.
The process is expected to eliminate the need for most deployed personnel to carry individual protective equipment.
Master Sgt. Micki Larson-Olson, NCO in charge of the expeditionary theater distribution center here, said the concept has been in the works for a few deployment rotations, and the next Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation will be the first to take part in the mass issue process.
“When we arrived, we only had 18 C-bags built,” Sergeant Larson-Olson said. “So, our first major task was to check through the inventory, replace all the expired assets we had on hand and begin building new bags. We currently have more than 1,300 C-bags ready and in the system.”
That number is going to grow as many deployed troops are required to turn in their C-bags before leaving to be readied for the next rotation.
“We’re expecting about 1,000 more bags to come in,” she said. “We sent out a list of those needing to turn their C-bags in and those who are exempt. We’ve had a constant flow of bags daily.”
In addition to the C-bags, people will no longer be required to bring the mobility bags, or A-bags, with them beginning with the next rotation.
“We currently have 1,200 A-bags on hand. That’s our authorization to have here at the center,” Sergeant Larson-Olson said. “These bags will be used for the people coming in on the next rotation. Once their deployment is done, they will turn them in.”
To store all this excess baggage, a new expeditionary theater distribution center is under construction and is expected to open by Feb. 1. Sergeant Larson-Olson said the new center will also be the home of the wing processing line and storage area for individual body armor.
“It’s going to be hard work at first getting everything moved in place and into the system,” said mobility technician Airman 1st Class Christopher Haskin. “But, once that’s completed, it will become much easier.”
People getting ready to go back home seem to like the new initiative.
“I heard about it while I was at Ramstein (Air Base, Germany),” said (Chaplain) Lt. Col. Michael Tinnon, wing chaplain’s office. “It’s nice not having to haul so many bags back and forth. I think it’s wonderful.”