I am an active-duty Army aviation major, and I spent the majority of my past 5 years managing aviation maintenance in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I just wanted to point out a more recent lesson learned from my time as an aviation unit maintenance (AVUM) company commander at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan that I thought would be applicable across the maintenance spectrum.
All maintainers of ground or aviation equipment faces the never-ending ordeal of keeping their specialized tools and test equipment within TMDE (test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment) standards and available at multiple locations during split-based operations. I would highly encourage any maintenance commander or NCO [noncommissioned officer] facing an upcoming deployment to take a careful look at which tools are the hardest to replace and will be needed on the ground immediately upon the unit’s arrival.
These specialized tools should be made a priority for air movement into theater instead of being moved by ship and then ground. This is especially true for any deployment to Afghanistan, where all your MILVANs [military-owned demountable containers] will be transported using contractors via line haul through Pakistan.
I personally saw 5 of my 20 MILVANs pilfered en-route, to the tune of almost a half-million dollars in losses. One of these MILVANs also had critical test equipment needed for CH−47 maintenance and took almost a full month to replace.
Don’t make my mistake! Get your high value and critical tools moved by air so they are available on day 1.