Beefing Up Manas

Talk of the US military having to vacate Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, in August isn’t stopping the US from making changes to the base now to help support the buildup of forces in Afghanistan. In fact, a nine-member basic expeditionary airfield resources team from the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB, N.M., visited Manas at the end of last month and spent several days there erecting two new 4,000 square-foot dome shelters for the base’s 376th Air Expeditionary Wing. The new structures add an additional 400-bed capacity and new latrines, thereby helping the wing to accommodate a greater amount of US and coalition personnel transiting through Manas into Afghanistan as well as those coming out of Afghanistan and heading home through the major airlift hub, according to Lt. Col. Gary Kirk, deputy commander of Manas’ 376th Expeditionary Mission Support Group. The Kyrgyz government in February gave the US six months to vacate Manas, but the US is reportedly engaged in talks to seek a compromise so that it may continue to use the base. (Includes Manas report by TSgt. Phyllis Hanson)