News from the front: Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Aaron Kigar
  • 411th Flight Test Squadron
I am deployed as the air liaison officer for Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command -West at Camp Stone in Herat, Afghanistan, in an In-Lieu-of Army position. My responsibilities involve manifesting and moving people and cargo by convoy to Herat Airfield in order to supply all Forward Operating Bases in Western Afghanistan. 

My team has completed more than 200 supply convoys moving a weekly average of 500 people and 200 tons of cargo. I have had great experiences over my deployment, but the most memorable were our operations out of Shindand, Afghanistan. 

The Herat Airfield was shut down for a three-week window in order to repave the runway and expand the south apron. The nearest airfield for us to conduct our operations was an hour-and-a-half convoy to Shindand Airfield. 

Shindand Airfield is an old former Soviet base. The runway was in disrepair. It was made of displaced concrete slabs with a large crater in the center and unexploded ordnances littering the surrounding area. Air operations at Shindand were nonexistent at the time, and I was trained as a landing zone safety officer in order to give the aircraft landing advisory, while my team secured the airfield with gun trucks. 

We slept outside in shifts maintaining airfield security and continuing air operations. We landed more than 50 combat support sorties. As the cargo came in, we would convoy the cargo out to maintain the supply chain to all the forward operating bases in our operating area. Our team worked closely with the Marine Special Forces, as we also provide them with air movement support. 

Though I've had great experiences during my deployment, I am looking forward to getting back home to Edwards in late December. I miss and love my beautiful wife, Heather, and my three children, Eva, Oliver and Elliot.