Romanian Transit Hub Critical to Afghanistan Operations

? Since beginning operations in January, US personnel deployed to Mihail Kogalniceanu AB, Romania, have processed more than 85,000 service members moving in and out of Afghanistan, more than 2,100 tons of baggage, and large amounts of military equipment, according to a base release. MK, as it is known, now hosts “a mini wing” of some 600 personnel, including 140 airmen, to execute this mission. The United States formerly operated this type of transit hub at Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan. Aircrews, maintainers, loadmasters, medics, security forces, and other support personnel at MK have built up a rapport with their Romanian counterparts, said MSgt. Laura Blea, first sergeant for the 780th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. The expeditionary footprint at MK is saving time on deployment processes. As of August, the average time it takes to process personnel deploying to Afghanistan is 36 hours, while the average processing time for someone returning to home station is 40 hours; in both cases, that’s less time than was required at Manas, states the Aug. 22 release.