Romanian officer ensures mission success for RSE-21
April 8, 2014
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - Since the beginning of U.S. multi-modal operations at Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase in November 2011, one Romanian Air Force officer has been key to the success of those missions. Today, he continues to support the U.S. mission and play a pivotal role for all military branches in that area.
Romanian Air Force Maj. Vasile Cozma, the chief of aeronautical traffic services at MK Airbase and a native of Constanta, Romania, is the key liaison officer between U.S. and Romanian forces.
The U.S. multi-modal mission was successful because Cozma helped U.S. military leaders interact with Romanian authorities. As those operations came to a close, a new mission presented itself. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott Hahn, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's Regional Support Element mobility officer and a native of Little Valley, N.Y., called Cozma to explain.
"I called Major Cozma in late December of 2013 to tell him we wanted to build a passenger terminal at MK Airbase to get service members in and out of Afghanistan," Hahn said. "I told him that I would be coming at the end of the month with engineers and that other teams of supporting Soldiers would also be staggering in. From the moment we touched down, Major Cozma ensured we got everything we needed."
Cozma, along with Hahn and the team of engineers, presented the plans for a new passenger terminal and customs area to the Romanian military leadership at MK Airbase. Once the plans were approved, Cozma ensured land intended for construction was surveyed, that the 21st TSC's 18th Engineer Brigade properly attained all dig and construction permits, and that all technical agreements between the U.S. and Romania were upheld.
"We could not have reached mission success with the terminal and customs area without his (Cozma's) help," Hahn said.
With the structures built and the redeployment mission underway, Cozma continues to assist his U.S. partners daily. He interacts with Romanian border control and customs to ensure each redeploying service member is cleared to immigrate and emigrate Romania. If inclement weather diverts a flight from MK to another airport in Romania, Cozma ensures the receiving airport is aware of the situation and the U.S. military are allowed to disembark. He also coordinates transportation for those personnel to MK after they land.
"When those passengers disembark a plane, get on the bus and move seamlessly from one point to the other, they don't understand that their smooth transition is because of Major Cozma's hard work," Hahn said. "I have been working with him since September 2012, and he has been a huge help in all aspects of U.S. operations in Romania. He is a good partner and friend."
Cozma continues to assist U.S. forces at MK Airbase. In 2011, he established a daily meeting for U.S. and Romanian leadership to attend in order to synchronize their efforts. This meeting continues today. He says he wishes to continue contributing to the success of the mission at MK for as long as possible.
"This mission is like my baby. I helped start this mission, and I love this mission," Cozma said. "I want to continue to handle this mission for as long as I can, because I know it so well. In the beginning it was just me, but now I have a team to help. I will train them to make sure this mission continues to be successful."