By Staff Sgt. Ian Carrier
The first of two aircraft fire and rescue trucks bound for Mazar-i-Sharif Airport in Northern Afghanistan were loaded into the cargo hold of a C-17 by members of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, Expeditionary Logistics Squadron on April 19, 2007.
The vehicles are 1988 Oshkosh trucks, which once belonged to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The City of Baltimore has donated the surplus trucks to the Governor of Afghanistan.
According to an FAA press release, Jim White, deputy director of Airport Safety and Standards, said an assessment conducted by FAA inspectors concluded that the trucks would be needed to bring Mazar-i-Sharif into compliance with International Civil Aviation safety standards.
“Afghanistan is very eager to resume commercial flights,” said Mr. White in the press release. “They either had no fire trucks, or the equipment they had at the airfield was unsuitable.”
The trucks began their journey in Nov. 2006, after being loaded into the cargo hold of Military Sealift Command large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Shughart. They were then delivered to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in December, where they were stored while the FAA and the Pentagon decided the best method to deliver the trucks to Kabul.
“We had to work with the Air Force, which did an analysis at Wright Patterson (Air Force Base) to certify that the trucks were air transportable,” said Mr. White in the press release.
Due to the price of new vehicles, a call for surplus went out from Mr. White’s office. “We started locally, and within a few weeks we identified two surplus trucks at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport,” said Mr. White.
The second truck will be delivered in the next day or two.