Monday, July 13, 2009

Keeping supplies to Afghanistan moving

The RAF's Joint Movements Unit plays an essential role in Afghanistan making sure that the RAF's giant Hercules and C-17 aircraft receive everything they need to keep Britain's Armed Forces armed, fed and watered properly.

One member of the seven-man specialist logistics team currently deployed to Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan is Senior Aircraftman Jonathan Howes, aged 32, who is a volunteer airman with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAAF).

Normally a cycle shop manager in Cradley Heath in the West Midlands, SAC Howes and his colleagues handle a staggering 350 tonnes of freight per week, and support a huge range of RAF and civilian aircraft.

Kandahar Airfield is a huge multi-national base and scores of freight pallets and vehicles move through the site every day on dozens of aircraft such as the TriStar, Airbus A300 and Hercules.

Largest of all is the C-17 which can carry 45 tonnes of freight over 5,000 miles (8,000km).

SAC Howes and his team are responsible for keeping this massive operation running properly, dealing with freight movements while facing the constant risk of rocket and mortar attacks.

He said:

"Among the kit we're dealing with are medical supplies for wounded troops, ammunition for those in the field, as well as food and water."

The Joint Movements Unit is also responsible for helping to distribute mail to the thousands of UK troops throughout Afghanistan, providing a much-needed link to their families and friends:

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