Sgt. Michael Selvage
10th Sustainment Brigade Journalist
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Soldiers working in the humanitarian relief yard here have a mission that isn’t just supporting the warfighters on the ground. They are sending out needed supplies to the people of Afghanistan.
Since 10th Sustainment Brigade took over its area of responsibility in early February, the humanitarian relief yard team has conducted approximately 12 missions consisting of more than 24 truckloads of supplies.
Although the yard is not large in comparison to the mission, it has proven to be just the right size to allow Soldiers to touch many lives since its inception in 2005.
The Commander’s Emergency Response Program was used to purchase items from local venders to make up the supply stock, said Staff Sgt. Lobsang Salaka, HR yard noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Special Troops Battalion. U.S. government organizations also donated items to the yard in support of the HR mission.
There is no other place like the HR yard in Afghanistan. While some might see just items stored inside 20- and 40-foot containers, Muleskinner Soldiers see an opportunity to make an impact on a person’s life in a positive way.
“We provide humanitarian relief items to the people based on recommendations made by the battlefield commanders, civil affairs units and Special Forces units,” Salaka said.
Salaka added that the HR yard on Bagram is the last Army-operated station in Afghanistan.
The HR mission responds to natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, as well as indigenous people who are dis-
placed due to insurgent or drug warlord activities, who may assist ground commanders with their counterinsurgency operations.
Salaka said he has several Soldiers and local nationals working hand-in-hand at the yard to accomplish the mission.
Effective Army logistics support is the cornerstone of the organization’s ability to operate and conduct missions – whether it’s combat or humanitarian support.
Muleskinner Soldiers ship items everywhere throughout Afghan-istan.
Some of the supplies the HR yard has provided are tents, clothing, rubber boots, coal-burning stoves, charcoal, school supplies, prayer rugs, dental hygiene kits and more, Salaka said.
These items were made available to units for distribution to the local populace or military personnel.
“The HR mission is actually a very big one,” said Pfc. Anthony Lodiong, automated logistical specialist assigned to HHC, 10th STB. “It’s a way for the Army to help the Afghan people by providing them the humanitarian relief they need.”
The mission had been going on for years; the 10th Sustainment Brigade has merely picked up where their predecessors left off. Muleskinner Soldiers will continue to keep the supplies rolling until the mission is complete.
“Taking care of people is something the Army has been doing for centuries,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jose A. Castillo, 10th Sustainment Brigade senior enlisted adviser. “Being able to take care of the local populace in a war-torn country is something Muleskinners take pride in.”
Giving to less fortunate people is not a new concept to Soldiers – it is evident the Soldiers who work in the yard are proud of what they do on a daily basis. Some Soldiers take the HR mission to heart rather than just another tasking.
“This mission has a big impact on the people of Afghanistan,” Lodiong said. “It’s my will to contribute to the peace building efforts in Afghanistan, and I do the best I can to ensure the HR work is a success.”
Maj. Adrien Humphreys, a reintegration adviser assigned to the 10th Mountain Division (LI), said the local nationals outside of Ghazni were not prepared for the harsh and extended winter season this year and the supplies they received helped implement a positive outlook on the coalition forces and Afghan National Army.
“They see that we are not abandoning them,” Humphreys said. “We are passing the responsibility along to the ANA to take care of them in the future.”
She said coalition forces team up with the ANA to allow them become the faces providing the supplies.
In doing so, it helps build an enduring relationship between the ANA and local population.