Scott Air Force Base drawing down personnel and equipment from Afghanistan

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE ( KTVI) - Ending the war in Afghanistan is expensive and a huge challenge.  Ramstein Air Base in Germany is the focal point when it comes to moving troops and supplies in and out of Afghanistan.  Captain Joel Allen is with the Air Mobility Command which is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base.  Allen said, “We have a very dynamic mission at Ramstein Air base.” 245,000 passengers move through here a year. While one group of troops is finally going home from Afghanistan another is heading down range, the war is not over yet. St. Louisan Sgt. Melissa Kramerick is among the first group and she’s happy to be headed back to the states, “It is fabulous, you miss the little things.”

In places like Kandahar troops are busy with retrograde, preparing some $36 billion dollars worth of inventory for shipment back to America. Staff Sgt. Justin Hemken is a Litchfield Illinois native. He’s helping with retrograde, “We’re going to see more aircraft from that area full of cargo destined for the United States.”

Moving the stuff home is expected to cost about $6 billion. The folks at Scott Air Force Base watch the process closely from the Air and Space Operations Center. They are in charge of all the aircraft and they are determined to meet the retrograde challenge.  Major General Tim Zadalis with the 618th Air and Space Operation said, “It’s a giant mountain you go how are we going to move this but we very efficiently and effectively take it piece by piece.”

Back in Germany there’s another piece of the retrograde puzzle on the flight line, a C-5 just arrived from Afghanistan and it’s loaded with expensive military equipment. The cargo hold is packed with all sorts of items: winches, brand new tires, boxes containing diesel engines and a big water pump.

Loading an aircraft is a science.  St. Louisan Staff Sgt. Stephen Butler has that responsibility. He uses computers to make sure every pallet is packed right and placed in the right spot so the flight is balanced. Otherwise, there could be serious problems. Butler said, “People could get injured the worst possible scenario is the plane could crash.”

Reportedly billions of dollars of military equipment is being left behind in Afghanistan, even if it’s new or in good shape. Officials say it’s not worth the cost to ship items that no longer have much use. 15 giant shredders like this one were flown in. Each machine can destroy sensitive electronics, armor plating even a military vehicle. Lt. Col. Melvin Maxwell is commander of the 721st Aerial Port Squadron at Ramstein, “Ensuring that possible unfriendly forces get to use that equipment is something that we don’t want to do.”

The job of drawing down all happens while bullets are still flying.  Major General Tim Zadalis added, “Combat operations are ongoing so we are bringing everybody and everything home in the midst of combat operations”

The military is supposed to get the job done by the end of the year.  But, with the way the world turns politically, with problems in Africa and Ukraine there’s seems little doubt the folks here at Ramstein and Scott will be busy for years to come.

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7 comments

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Yes, ending this Bush War IS expensive! But worth EVERY PENNY, according to the lost lemmings of the extreme Tea Party right.

    Spending these billions is not NEARLY as wasteful for the taxpayer as more frivolous stuff like health care reform, Social Security or Medicare, or education!

    I mean, every penny spent on military excursions throughout the world helps some rich turd get richer, and down at the bottom end of the scale, helps THOUSANDS of otherwise unemployable lumps with no detectable skills or talents have GREAT jobs with LIFETIME WELFARE benefits, all on the taxpayer dime! I mean, most of these people would be on welfare were it not for military service, and that’s good because now they can sit around retired on their military pensions, fishing all day and complain LOUDLY about all those lazy blacks sitting around all day on welfare on the taxpayer dime!

    This war was phony when it was started, it was phony and worthless as it went on, it has been a total and utter failure, and now it’s still costing us a fortune to end it.

    Great job, Bush and Republicans! Keep up the GREAT work!

    And for the “dumb half”? Hey, just keep on voting Republican! They were SO good at controlling government spending and creating jobs and all, right? Not.

    • Lee

      BB – would LOVE to see you tell a Marine who’s been to Afghanistan that he/she would be on welfare if not for their military service. I’ve worked for the US Air Force for over 30 years now and would LOVE to meet you face to face to “discuss” my life wearing the uniform, fixing aircraft, deploying all over the world, then managing communications/compuiter projects. Yeah, I’d be on welfare (what a mar-roon you are…)

    • ByeByeToTheRite

      Ya got it wrong again, tard face.

      I’m very much employed, and working hard so lazy dimwits like YOU can sit home on their fat military or Boeing pensions.

      I realize if we ever do the smart thing and cut the military budget, you may have to actually go back to work (well, unless you inherited everything from Pa). And I imagine that could be difficult for folks with no abilities whatsoever, like you.

      • Steven Sweeney

        Military budget has been cut, just ask the 40 vets in AZ that Obama let die. Your democrats only care about terrorists and the entitlement thug base. Just ask the governor (dem) who is fighting a middle class tax cut. Us working stiffs can’t get relief, but muslim brotherhood gets billions, UAW fatcats get billions in bailout and ACA exemption. People that work and have a brain are fed up with dem corruption and stupidity, which is why the dog eater in chief’s approval is 40%.The mid terms in November will get rid of the reids, pelosis, and career democrats that have ruined this country. If only we could vote out bye bye.

      • Lee

        “…working hard…” while surfing the web and posting your nonsense on the Fox 2 News web site… Riiiight…. (eyes rolling).

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