NEWS | Feb. 25, 2016

7th MSC Soldiers support AFRICOM’s Operation Echo Casemate

By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta 7th Mission Support Command

EVREUX, France-U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 7th Mission Support Command conducted joint partnered movement control operations with French Air Force members and U.S. Air Force personnel in support of United States Africa Command’s Operation Echo Casemate resupply mission to Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, Feb. 22.
The four Army Reserve Soldiers, provided technical load planning and logistical support prior to and during an upload of French military resupply material/equipment that was scheduled to fly on a U.S. Air Force C-17 to the CAR Feb. 23.
For two years, Soldiers from U.S. Army Africa and Airmen from Air Forces Africa have provided logistics support to French and African Union troops assisting in restoring security in the Central African Republic. The mission began in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2127. 

“I am the one who signs off on the paperwork for the load plan, and Captain Lewis signs off on the joint inspection, “said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Joaquin Rendon, the noncommissioned officer in charge and joint inspector from the 446th Trans. Bn. (MC), 7th MSC. “Staff Sergeant Egan certifies hazardous material. It has been pretty good so far working with the French. They make our job easy for us because they know their job very well.”

The joint partnered resupply load team included the four 7th MSC Soldiers, three U.S. Air Force load masters and several French Air Force movement control team members.
“I assist the French in their load plan development process,” said U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. David Howard, a load planner with Company D, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, 7th MSC, “this includes working with a standard [U.S.] Air Force’s air load integrated computerized deployment system, ICODES.”

During the blustery cold overcast morning, the team inspected and loaded five pallets of materials, three French military all-terrain vehicles, medical supplies, generators and one pontoon boat in just a few hours.

“It has been very good,” said French Air Force Sgt. Moussa Anne a supervisor from the movement control unit, Evreux Air Squadron. “They [the 7th MSC Soldiers] helped us with the load plan.” 
According to Howard, ICODES is a valuable tool that increases efficiency, determines the exact, safe location to place items on the aircraft for movement and is also used for military ship and rail load planning.
“It kind of streamlines the loading of the aircraft and quickly identifies hazardous materials,” Howard said. 

Since November the 7th MSC Movement Control Team deployed to France; twice a month, for 7-10 days at a time in support of the resupply mission, which is known as Operation Sangaris by the French Air Force.
“It went well,” said U.S. Air Force Sr. Airman Kayla Zahneis a loadmaster from the 14th Airlift Squadron, Air Mobility Command, 18th Air Force, from Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. “The load plan was right for this type of load.”

According to a French Air Force officer, there were 16 resupply missions with a total of 188 tons transported from Evreux to Bangui in 2015. 
The 7th MSC Soldiers invaluable help with the loading team and their help with the load plan expedited the sequence of events, said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Riley, an instructor loadmaster with the 14th Airlift Sqdn., AMC, 18th AF.
“These guys [the 7th MSC Soldiers] were awesome, very professional,” Riley said. “The French were gracious hosts. They were [the] most safety conscious in terms of movement control that I have experienced.”