Flight line liaison officers link Army, Air Force to move equipment out of, around Afghanistan
April 27, 2014
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (April 27, 2014) -- There's a saying that "no job is finished until the paperwork is done," and when the job falls to the Redistribution Property Assistance Team, the final paperwork often means a flight manifest.
Equipment that is excess to a unit's mission is turned in at a Redistribution Property Assistance Team, or RPAT, yard managed by one of the logistics task forces that fall under one of the two battalions of the 401st Army Field Support Brigade. The RPATs process equipment and prepare most of it to be transported to support Army missions. Most of the transportation is provided by the U.S. Air Force, and the lynchpin between the Army and the Air Force comes in the person of the flight line liaison officer, or LNO.
The Bagram flight line LNOs are on the flight line whenever equipment is scheduled to be loaded for transport from Bagram Airfield. Equipment can be either rolling stock -- mostly vehicles, or non-rolling stock -- mostly palletized or in "kicker" boxes. The LNOs set the priorities for moving the equipment and Air Force personnel build the load plans and supervise loading and tie-down of equipment.
"My job is to make sure equipment is loaded with no issues," said Capt. David E. McCormick, Bagram flight line officer-in-charge. "The number one priority is to load equipment safely and securely."
McCormick and Sgt. 1st Class Ivan K. Line, who will be the night flight line LNO, have the resources to reach out to battalion assets if there are problems with vehicles or getting them aligned. One recent mission involved a non-drivable vehicle that was being moved for repair. McCormick leveraged battalion assets to maneuver the vehicle so the air crew could load it.
The flight line LNO is on-hand from the time the aircraft is ready to be loaded until the ramp is closed. In addition to being present for every mission, the LNOs complete a twice-daily inventory of all equipment staged in a holding area near the flight line. They are also present for joint inspections conducted by Army and Air Force personnel just prior to the missions.
While most missions are scheduled, there are occasions when a "bird" has space for cargo. Whenever these "opportune air" missions become available, the LNOs have equipment staged and ready to go on short notice.
McCormick said he loves his job and considers it one of the most important in the equipment management process.