BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan –
As the “backbone” of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron keeps the mission moving at Bagram Airfield.
With each section as vital as the next, Airmen and contractors from seven functional areas--passenger terminal, aerial port, supply, fuels, transportation management, vehicle maintenance and contingency operations--work day in and day out to stay on top of the busiest operational airfield in Afghanistan.
“The mission couldn’t happen without us because we touch every piece of it,” said Maj. Mieke Bruins, 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “We make sure there are vehicles for the various units, that the aircraft have fuel, and if you are deploying in or redeploying out that those transportation requirements are taken care of. If you are someone who fixes jets, then we are the people that receive and process your parts and get them out to you, so we touch literally everything that happens here.”
Bruins said her goals for the logistics team are to make the mission better and to strive for the best customer service at Bagram.
With each moving part of her squadron, Bruin noted her team continuously finds ways to make the practices, policies and quality of life better for the Airmen on base.
“Logisticians have no internal mission other than taking care of the customers,” Bruins said. “As a part of the mission support group, our entire mission is support, so we find a way give the best support we possibly can.”
Staff Sgt. Raymond Ramirez, 455th ELRS command executive assistant, began supporting the mission at Bagram long before he deployed there.
As a member of the 20th LRS transportation management office at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Ramirez readied the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Fighting Falcons for a deployment to Bagram in October 2017.
“Being stationed at Shaw, a lot of our stuff gets shipped out here,” Ramirez said. “When our F-16s were sent out here, I helped get all their cargo palletized and loaded onto a C-17 [Globemaster III].”
Logisticians are essential at home and overseas. To keep up with the demand for their skillsets, the squadron depends on support from civilian contractors, who account for the majority of ELRS personnel.
“We don’t delineate between active duty and contractors, they are a part of the family,” Bruins said. “They do the mission so that we don’t have to deploy as often. I feel like without them, we wouldn’t be able to do the mission that we are able to do. I am very grateful for their service.”
Working hand-in-hand, each facet of the logistics mission folds together to ensure operations run smoothly and effectively throughout the base.
Bruins said she couldn’t be more proud of her team and all they have accomplished during her time in command.
“To get to see Airmen come here, learn the job, find new and better ways to do things and grow, is the best job in the world,” Bruins said. I would do it a million times if they let me.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing website.