By Summer BarkleyJuly 17, 2014
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan--A modern version of the World War II Lend-Lease program played out Jul. 14 at 3-401st Army Field Support Battalion. On that day, the International Security Assistance Force Security Assistance Office signed for MRAPs, MRAP recovery vehicles, and associated equipment that will soon be loaned to Afghan National Security Forces for their missions. The loan of certain types of equipment to foreign forces is authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act for the purposes of personnel protection and survivability.
The unit was directed to source and bring the vehicles to a fully mission-capable status. Once all of the vehicles were ready, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kortney D. Johnson the office's property book officer signed for the equipment that will be loaned to ANSF. Johnson was meticulous in ensuring the serial numbers of the vehicles and associated equipment were correct in order to maintain property accountability.
While Johnson was verifying serial numbers, Russell W. Gordy, 3-401st Quality Assurance chief, worked with an Afghan soldier to show him how to conduct preventive maintenance checks and services on the vehicles.
According to Gordy, Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services, or PMCS, occurs in three phases, taking about 20 to 30 minutes to inspect all items on the checklist before operating the vehicle, noting any issues that occur during the mission, and making another 15-to-20 minute check of the vehicle after the mission. This allows for any issues to be fixed before the vehicle is needed for its next mission. He also noted that PMCS for the recovery vehicle takes longer to complete.
Photos were taken during the PMCS walk-thru to provide reference materials so any of the Afghan Soldiers who use them will be able to fully inspect the vehicles.
Work to bring the vehicles to Full Mission Capable status began approximately two weeks before they were scheduled for issue, with much of it conducted in an area dedicated solely to the mission. Lt. Col. Marvin L. Walker, 3-401st AFSBn commander, directed that all required resources be dedicated to the mission.
"ANSF is my baby," said Michael A. Fiame, battalion maintenance officer. "I stay in this area full-time so I can sign off on completed work and make decisions when required."
"The saying 'Property Accountability is everyone's responsibility' is more than a quote -- it is strictly enforced throughout the battalion," said Damiene D. White, 3-401st AFSBn deputy support operations officer. "We take the necessary steps to ensure that we issue equipment with the associated components to the ANSF Sponsor without any compromise to property accountability or any loss to the government."
White said the battalion sustainment hand receipt holder, Fred Choate, ensured that more than $15 million worth of government assets were programmed through the maintenance process without any loss to the government, while Theater Property Equipment Program Manager Gloria Blake ensured that the automated property transfer was completed through the Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced system.
"This is the heartbeat of what the AFSB does," said White. "We make all commodities talk. Maintenance, Property Accountability, and Operations made this mission a success."
The final steps were for the battalion quality assurance inspectors to provide government acceptance of contractor work, provide a final vehicle wash, and stage them and the associated equipment in the ready-for-issue yard. The whole process was identical to what takes place when the battalion receives a directive to issue equipment to any unit. Everything possible is done to ensure equipment leaving the battalion is safe to operate and will perform as expected for mission accomplishment.
"The rapid accomplishment of this mission really illustrates the 401st AFSB motto, 'First to make a difference,'" said Daniel E. London, 3-401st AFSBn deputy to the commanding officer. "Providing units -- particularly the ANSF -- with fully mission-capable equipment is a primary line of effort in the 3-401st AFSBn. This is why we volunteer to serve: to make a difference and leave a capability legacy for the ANSF to defend their populace and freedom as they take the lead in Operation Resolute Support."
"The 401st AFSB executed this mission on-time and to standard in order to support Afghan National Security Forces," said Col. Edward J. Burke, 401st AFSB commander. "I had full confidence in the battalion and its ability to complete this significant mission that will truly make a difference. It is but one example of how we are able to contribute to the successful transition of security responsibility to our Afghan partners and demonstrate our commitment to the Government of Afghanistan."
Editor's note: PBUSE is a web-based property accountability system used at the unit level.