Improved Ramp, Tents Aid Hectic SAR Pace

USAF airmen are improving ramp conditions for combat search and rescue forces that operate out of bare base Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where the CSAR operations tempo is very high and likely to remain so as US and NATO forces increase. “Right now, with the rocks and dust, and an environment of conditions they way they are here, it takes us longer to do things and we have limitations,” said Maj. Joseph Alkire, 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron director of operations. Expanded ramp areas will aid helicopter maintainers and aircrews. Camp upgrades also will include maintenance shelters and tents for medical flight crew equipment, parachutes, and other equipment. And aircrew members will get a tent apart from the tactical operations center to study or relax. A USAF advance medical team also is helping set up a contingency aeromedical staging area at Bastion. (CSAR upgrades report and CASF report by SSgt. Angelique Smythe)