By Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public AffairsMarch 20, 2014
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania -- U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell alongside Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, USAREUR's top enlisted Soldier, visited here March 19 to meet with the Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who work behind the scenes to maintain day-to-day operations that support the transit of U.S. service members into and back home from Afghanistan.
The MK Air Base Passenger Transit Center, which officially began running at full capacity March 1, is designed to move U.S. service members into and out of the Operation Enduring Freedom theater. USAREUR's 21st Theater Sustainment Command has participated in multi-modal logistics operations at the Romanian air base for many years, but only recently led its reconfiguration as a transit center capable of moving the thousands of troops and thousands of tons of cargo and supplies that accompanies the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.
Upon arrival, Campbell and Davenport were greeted by officers and senior enlisted Soldiers who oversee base and personnel operations here, including 21st TSC's Col. Michael Snyder, the officer-in-charge of the center's Regional Support Element, and Sgt. Maj. Robert Hickson, the RSE's senior enlisted Soldier.
During their visit, the two toured the various facilities around "MK", getting a firsthand look at the processes those who transit through the center complete during their stopover here. For instance, the general and sergeant major got a close-up look at two key functions -- the center's passenger terminal and customs operations.
In the passenger terminal, USAREUR's top Soldiers were shown the steps required to processing each unit and service member that transits through the base. There every passenger's ID card is scanned and all passengers are briefed about what they will do during their time at the center and the base facilities, such as lodging, dining and Morale, Welfare and Recreation services, that are available to them here.
The duo were also shown the center's customs walk-through procedures. One of the last steps departing transiting personnel must complete is undergo a complete inspection of everything they are bringing with them into or out of the OEF theater.
Following their tour, Campbell and Davenport took time for lunch with the Soldiers and Airmen who keep the transit center running at full steam every day.
Service members talked about their day-to-day lives here and their roles in base operations. Everyone at the table gave a brief background of where they were from, what unit they were assigned to and a short job description of what they did for their respective branch.
"I believe it is important for general Campbell to interact with the lower enlisted Soldiers and Airmen here because it shows us appreciation of our hard work," said Joan Bazam, a finance specialist here assigned to Sustainment Task Force 16, who was also one of the Soldiers who sat down with Campbell and Davenport during lunch.
The next item on the list was a look at the base's MWR facilities. Those facilities include a recreation center, cyber-café, fitness center and movie theater, all designed to make the time here more comfortable and productive for transiting service members, those assigned here as the transit center's staff, and other personnel here for short- and long-term missions at the base.
"I am very proud of the Soldiers and Airmen who have worked hard here," stated Campbell. "The attitude, focus, professionalism and joint effort between the Soldiers and Airmen has been the reason why the base is where it is at now."
About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.