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Posted: May 18, 2018 1:41 p.m.
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Small Scale Sustainment

Sgt. Elizabeth White/

Spc. Angel Martinez, a water treatment specialist, Dahlke West Forward Support Company, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, guides a forklift moving a pallet of water into a connex in Camp Dahlke, Afghanistan, May. 5. Soldiers with the FSC work with local national contractors using forklifts, flatbed trucks and cranes to move materials around the camp.

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Throughout Afghanistan, companies of Soldiers from a variety of occupational specialties come together to provide sustainment operations in hazardous locations. They ensure mission readiness for forward operating bases in Afghanistan and without them the larger mission could not be accomplished. 

Soldiers in the FSC come a variety of occupational specialties and backgrounds. 

“We have personnel there running multiple missions consisting of airfield operations, refueling operations, forklift operations, Tactical Water Purification Systems, or water purification operations, and many more missions,” Capt. Kevin Bane, the Juliet Forward Support Company commander, 1-41 Infantry Battalion 

Currently, J FSC is providing assistance for the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB) with operations at the Tarin Kowt Airfield.

“For this deployment, we have a very unique mission,” said Bane. “United States Forces-Afghanistan, or big Army officials, selected [a small group] of FSCs and strategically placed them around theater.”

These support companies are expanding smaller bases around the country to support the SFAB. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Soldiers with the Camp Dahlke West (DW) FSC ensure mission accomplishment by providing all aspects of sustainment on the camp.

A company of approximately 30 Soldiers provides sustainment operations for Dahlke West. This area of the camp hosts various units, including the SFAB and a cavalry unit, and a myriad of contractors, who all depend on the FSC for movement of equipment. 

They mainly focus on moving cargo and providing water support, construction material and subsistence management and pick-up and deliver sling loads from the flight line, said Capt. Amar Arias, the DW FSC commander, 704th BSB. “I don’t think there is anything too big or too small that we can’t do. We’ll go ahead and do it to the best of our ability.”

As Dahlke’s population continues to grow, a large part of the company’s mission is increasing force protection around the base. 

Arias said if you look at Dahlke compared to a couple of months ago, you would see a drastically different base. He said even though the reorganization is still in process, spaces such as the expanded flight line, hardened buildings and living quarters demonstrate an FSC’s power of change. 

“When we got here there was not much built. And so, in a month and a half, everything has been expanded rapidly,” said Arias. “My intent, since we got here, was to be value added.”

He said that their team will do whatever it takes to give units the support they require.

The team consists of a hodge-podge of military occupational specialties including water treatment specialists, generator mechanics and cooks. While their specialties may lie elsewhere, these Soldiers rose to the challenge to operate a comprehensive support company. Arias said their varied MOSs would provide a range of logistical support to support Dahlke’s expansion. 

“It’s like building a plane while it’s in the air,” said Sgt. 1st Class Julio Lobato, noncommissioned officer in charge of DW FSC. “We’ve got a great group of Soldiers working outside of their comfort zone.”

This is true for J FSC as well. Bane said that their light infantry brigade had none of the equipment or training on airfield refueling operations prior to deploying. Much like the DW FSC, his Soldiers had to learn their job on the fly.

“[Tarin Kowt’s] lifeline lays with proper handling and maneuvering of the forklift,” Bane said. “Our Soldiers and NCOs up at TK also had a week to learn this and, not only that, learn this skill set in the dark under night vision goggles while the blades of a [Boeing CH-47 Chinook] are turning feet above their heads.”

By providing sustainment operations to austere bases, support companies ensure our military forces and coalition partners have the proper training and equipment needed for a successful mission.

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