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Specialized Tools Should Be a Priority for Movement

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.

Major Ted Ream
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

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