Multinational wing feeds Afghanistan surge
by 1st Lt. J.D. Griffin
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs
4/2/2010 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- The Heavy Airlift Wing, comprising 12 nations, recently moved 2.1 million pounds of equipment essential to surge operations supporting the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
The international wing has been part of the operation to move more than 6 million pounds of basic expeditionary airfield resources, or BEAR materiel, to build six forward operating bases supporting 3,500 people in austere settings.
"The HAW received the requirement and planned these airlifts that are running 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week," said Lt. Col. Brad Johns, HAW liaison officer at the 603rd Air Operations Center. "Here we call them HAWsome."
Airmen from the 12 nations have maintained 100 percent reliability for more than 30 sorties moving war reserve materiel that includes sleeping quarters, shower and shave units, laundry, kitchen and latrine facilities, electrical power and heating and cooling units.
"HAW participation in this large airlift effort is an important milestone in developing our operational capability," said Col. John D. Zazworsky Jr., HAW commander. "Our multinational crews have been trained to the same standards of the U.S. C-17 (Globemaster III) force, and the high-tempo operations of the past month validate the effectiveness of our multinational team."
The HAW, based at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, was activated July 27, 2009, and operates independently of NATO's military command.
The wing operates three C-17s to meet strategic airlift requirements of participating nations for national missions including missions in support of NATO, the European Union and the United Nations.
The NATO member nations include Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States, as well as Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden.
The HAW BEAR missions support ISAF, but also grow the capacity of the multinational wing, according to Colonel Zazworsky.
"The lessons we learn from this experience will make us even more effective in support of the other (Strategic Airlift Consortium) nations' requirements in the future," he said.