Camp Taji unveils new rotary passenger terminal
January 9, 2010
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Command elements from the 49th Transportation Battalion, 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team garrison command and 1st Air Cavalry Brigade took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 5, celebrating the opening of the Capt. Edward "Too Tall" Freeman Rotary Wing Passenger Terminal at Camp Taji, Iraq.
The new terminal features two hardened structures capable of holding up to 300 passengers and replaces a small trailer, comparable in size to a containerized housing unit, said Lt. Col. Peter Haas, commander of the 49th Trans. Bn., 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, native.
Haas said he flew in from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and was impressed with the work of the 384th Movement Control Team, which runs the terminal under the command of the 49th, and the improvements from the old terminal.
"You can hardly compare the two," he said.
Haas said the terminal at Camp Taji is the last of eight terminals run by the 49th to receive renovations.
"We always like to be a part of making things better for our Soldiers," he said.
Capt. William Bailey, commander of the 384th MCT out of Fort Eustis, Va., said his team has moved 2,100 Soldiers per week, for a total of 30,000 since its arrival in September. The new terminal, he said, is making the process smoother and more comfortable.
"We've seen a lot of smiles on people's faces," said Bailey, a Huntsville, Ala., native. "It shows what we're doing here in Iraq ... making our footprint better."
Ground work for the project began with the 974th Transportation Detachment, which preceded his team, he said, and continued with a partnership between the 384th, the 155th BCT garrison command and the 1st Air Cav. Bde.
Bailey said the 1st Air Cav. Bde. provided guidance and specifications for the construction of the helicopter pad and the 155th managed work orders and maintenance, while the 384th managed the building with support from its higher headquarters at the 49th Trans. Bn.
Dedicating the building to Capt. Edward Freeman was an example of this partnership, he said.
Freeman, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of la Drang Valley during the Vietnam conflict, was a helicopter pilot for the 1st Air Cav. Bde. and a native of Mississippi, the home state of the 155th BCT.
Bailey said the terminal began operations the day before the official unveiling, and had already succeeded in redeploying a battalion-sized element.
"I'm just proud to be a part of it," he said.