BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Army Field Support Battalion-Afghanistan, 4th Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, completed the first phase of an historic mission to title transfer 155 MRAPs and 15 MRAP recovery vehicles to Afghan National Security Forces Feb. 14. Eleven vehicles with associated and basic issue items were signed for and prepared for ground movement. The equipment received Congressional approval for transfer as Excess Defense Articles that will enhance ANSF capabilities and readiness.
The title transfer was the culmination of months of work by the battalion to source the vehicles and the associated equipment. It also represented multinational and multiservice teamwork. The mission involved personnel from at least the U.S., Kosovo, India, Afghanistan and representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force active and reserve components and Soldiers from the Republic of Georgia who provided additional security.
The mission began more than eight months ago when a capabilities gap - a lack of armored vehicles and associated equipment - within the Afghan National Security Forces was identified said Maj. Scott J. Porter, Combined Security Transition Command's Security Assistance Office. The SAO began working to verify the equipment need and determine the way ahead to fill the capabilities gap.
"Every day of work has been targeted to today," said Navy Lt. j.g. James E. Banks, Navy reservist who is a vehicle commodity manager in CTSCA SAO. "This is the culmination of a lot of work."
An Afghan National Army property book officer and interpreter traveled from Kabul to Bagram Airfield to inventory and sign for the vehicles.
They worked with AC First personnel to verify serial numbers on vehicles and associated equipment and then verify that all the basic issue items were ready to be placed in the vehicles. They were assisted by Manoharan Govinda Pillai, a supply lead who assembled all of the basic item issue pieces. He was able to help them quickly identify each piece and keep the process moving along.
Following the inventory, paperwork was prepared and once the signatures were on all documents, the equipment belonged to the ANA/ANSF. The vehicles were driven to a staging area where they were loaded onto trailers for ground transport. Afghan Soldiers assisted in securing the equipment and once all was ready, they began moving the vehicles to their next destination.
"Today's transfer of 10 MaxxPros and one MRV is the first group transferred directly to the ANA," said Col. John P. Chadbourne, U.S. Forces Afghanistan J4 director. "They [ANA Soldiers] came to Bagram to sign for and transport equipment that will increase the Afghanistan security posture."
Chadbourne went on to say that the MRAPs are proven vehicles that will assist the Afghans in further securing their country.
Air Force Maj. Randy Combs, an AfPAK (AFPAK) Hand, said the transfer of vehicles to ANA will "help warriors engaged in the fight every day."
"Today's mission was a great success due in large part to the teamwork across many disciplines, cultures and commands," said Lt. Col. Mark W. Susnis, battalion commander, Army Field Support Battalion-Afghanistan. "When the task came down, our Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians began sourcing vehicles and taking steps to ensure a smooth transfer to ANA. Today's seamless title transfer was the result of a lot of hard work and dedication that is the hallmark of this battalion."
Editor's note: Afghanistan/Pakistan Hands (APH) often referred to as AfPAK Hands or AFPAK Hands, was established by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2009 to create greater continuity, focus, and persistent engagement on Afghanistan and Pakistan. This program develops a cadre of military and civilian experts, who speak the local language, are culturally attuned and focused on regional issues for an extended duration. APH personnel rotate between positions in and out of theater at the strategic level, directly influencing operations in the region. (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction, CJCSI 1630.01A, 30 April 2014)