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Airmen preparing US facilities for Afghanistan drawdown

By By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing

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Aug. 4, 2015 — BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – As the drawdown of U.S forces in Afghanistan continues, the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Traffic Management Office is closing down the base one shop at a time.

The TMO office ensures all shipments from the country are ready for transport, including hazardous and classified materials. The airmen also inspect freight for damage, keep accurate records, and safely move the cargo as it flows into and out of their facility.

“We start our day with handling all of the classified materials, and we inspect and label everything with the appropriate markings,” said Senior Airman Kionne Lewis, 455th ELRS cargo movement specialist. “We also make sure the destination that’s receiving is notified that classifieds or hazmats are on the way.

“A lot of the stuff we move will stay in theater,” Lewis said. “For the shops that are shutting down, we take their assets and send them to a different theater or home station that needs them.”

Being in a deployed location, TMO deals with materials they normally wouldn’t at home stations, such as hydraulic fluids, batteries, tanks, drone engines and corrosive gases.

“We deal with a lot of dangerous material. It’s a part of our job to make sure the material is safely transported,” Lewis said.

The clear out is projected to be complete by December 2016, and the TMO team will stay in theater until all shops are closed and materials are removed.

“We are a small team with a large workload, but we work together to get the mission handled,” Lewis said.