By Ms. Jennifer Leigh King (AMC)September 12, 2008
SECKENHEIM, GERMANY - Long before Kosovo Forces 10 deployed to Camp Bondsteel in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's mission in Kosovo, preparations began to ensure that the unit had the best equipment possible as it headed into Eastern Europe.
They called upon the 405th Army Field Support Brigade to assist as the unit departed the United States and moved into the European theater of operations.
The Theater Aviation Sustainment Manager-Europe, responsible for aviation maintenance in the European theater, made sure that Kosovo Forces 10 had the best aircraft possible during its mission.
"The TASM-E provides deploying units with the application and installation of new equipment onto the aircraft's frames during the preparation phase of deployment as well as repairing any flaws determined during the pre-maintenance inspections," explained Lt. Col. Tildon "Kye" Allen, chief of the TASM-E.
The importance of pre-deployment aircraft maintenance, called preset, can't be overstated.
"It's imperative that the commanders and pilots have the best equipment available to them before they deploy," Allen said. "Knowing that they are executing pre-deployment training and entering a combat zone with fully-maintained and repaired equipment gives them a great deal of confidence, which is important because they're not always sure what they are going to encounter downrange."
Since most KFOR units rotate through Germany prior to their deployment into Kosovo, the TASM-E's location on Coleman Barracks makes it an ideal location for aviation units needing support.
Staff Sgt. Mark Kincaide was the non-commissioned officer in charge for the KFOR 10 advance party that arrived in Germany prior to the unit's deployment, and he was impressed to learn that the TASM-E is more than just a maintenance shop.
"TASM-E provides a higher level of maintenance to correct the problems that the aircraft have," he said, but the organization also "provides a network for tracking down repair parts in Europe that a deploying unit would not have."
The TASM-E's work doesn't stop once the unit deploys, either.
"While the unit is deployed, we also assist with providing maintenance on the equipment that the unit leaves behind, ensuring that any equipment that they don't take with them downrange stays in perfect working order until they return," Allen said, and it's not as simple as it sounds.
"Maintaining the equipment that the unit doesn't take with them, which we call left behind equipment, entails a myriad of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance tasks. Once the unit returns from deployment, we have the responsibility to make sure that all of their equipment gets back to them in the best condition possible."
Kincaide believes that the services provided by the TASM-E reduce the stress level for deploying units.
"With TASM-E supplying maintenance services, key unit personnel can concentrate on other tasks, such as required mobilization training," he explained. "TASM-E maintenance personnel also assisted us by providing additional aircraft maintenance training for some of our junior enlisted personnel that were sent on the advance party."
He emphasized that TASM-E's support was essential to unit preparedness.
"(The TASM-E's assistance) increased the unit's readiness and knowledge strength for when we arrived in Kosovo," Kincaide said.
The successful execution of TASM-E's services - repair, maintenance, service, training -ensured that KFOR 10 is flying high in the skies above Kosovo - and flying safely with the best equipment possible.
(The TASM-E falls under the command of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command and the operational control of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade.)