"Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology."
-- Rebecca West (1892-1983)

"This past year has brought some significant changes to the Army, including the impacts of sequestration, a government shutdown, furloughs, and the effects of a drawdown and budget reductions. As always, your Army, our Army, has risen to the challenge ... But even in the midst of these challenges our mission has not changed -- to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, when necessary, fight and win our nation's wars."
-- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, emphasizing that despite daunting fiscal challenges and strategic uncertainty the Army will continue to be the best in the world, at the House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the quality of life in the military, Feb 26

Today's Focus: Transit Center Operations in Romania

What is it?

The Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, which has served as the Department of Defense's primary air mobility hub supporting the U.S. Central Command area of operations since late 2001, is closing in July 2014 and a large part of its mission is shifting to Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base, Romania.

MK Air Base is located adjacent to the city of Constanta, home to the Black Sea's largest port, and has been used for years as a multi-modal, multiservice cargo hub and has routinely hosted U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps forces for training and exercises.

What has the Army done?

With the closing of Manas, MK is now adding the mission of serving as a primary transit center for personnel retrograde operations from Afghanistan, led by U.S. Army Europe's 21st Theater Sustainment Command in concert with Romanian forces, the Air Force, Army Materiel Command, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and other Army and U.S. Transportation Command partners. The facilities at MK, officially the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base Passenger Transit Center, are being expanded to support that mission. That expansion includes common logistical and base operations support such as movement control operations; passenger, customs and baggage facilities; transient billeting; dining facilities; office space; communications; medical treatment facilities; force protection and fire response capabilities; and morale, welfare and recreation facilities.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The transit center began operating at initial capacity this month, and should be at its full operating capacity of 2,000 transient personnel and about 3,000 tons of associated cargo and baggage per day March 1. Its mission is expected to last until retrograde operations from Afghanistan are complete, which is forecast for the end of 2014.

Why is this important to the Army?

The cooperation and proficiency built by USAREUR and its Romanian and American partner organizations during years of working side-by-side at MK assure uninterrupted efficient and cost-effective support to operations in Afghanistan. That enabling expertise and teamwork are vital components of the planned drawdown of U.S. forces, providing America's warfighters with the world-class service they deserve and helping them to return them home quickly and safely.


1827 - The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. was incorporated.

1854 - About 50 slavery opponents met in Ripon, Wis., to call for creation of a new political group that became the Republican Party.

1861 - The Territory of Colorado was organized.

1940 - College basketball was televised for the first time as station W2XBS aired the Pittsburgh-Fordham and Georgetown-NYU games from Madison Square Garden in New York.

1953 - Scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule that contains the human genes, at Cambridge University.

1960 - The U.S. Olympic hockey team won the gold medal, defeating Czechoslovakia 9-4 at Squaw Valley, Calif.

1972 - President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai issued the Shanghai Communique at the conclusion of Nixon's historic visit to China, a step toward the eventual normalization of relations between the two countries.

1974 - The United States and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after a seven-year break.

1983 - The album "War" by U2 was released.

1991 - Allied and Iraqi forces suspended their attacks as Iraq pledged to accept all United Nations resolutions concerning Kuwait.

1993 - A gun battle erupted at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to serve warrants; four agents and six Davidians were killed and a 51-day standoff began.

2005 - Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

83 - Gavin MacLeod, Actor ("Love Boat," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show")
83 - Dean Smith, Hall of Fame basketball coach
77 - Sam the Sham, Singer
75 - Tommy Tune, Dancer, choreographer
74 - Mario Andretti, Auto racer
70 - Kelly Bishop, Actress ("Gilmore Girls"
66 - Bernadette Peters, Actress, singer
66 - Mercedes Ruehl, Actress
59 - Adrian Dantley, Basketball Hall of Famer
59 - Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian
57 - John Turturro, Actor
57 - Cindy Wilson, Rock singer (B-52s)
52 - Ken Whisenhunt, Football coach
45 - Robert Sean Leonard, Actor ("House")
41 - Eric Lindros, Hockey player
38 - Ali Larter, Actress ("Heroes")