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The Air Force has chosen Balad AB, Iraq, to be the test site for a weapons pre-positioning initiative that is projected to reduce the service’s transportation costs by about $1.3 million annually. Under the concept, M9 pistols and M16s rifles will be prepositioned at the base, thereby allowing airmen to arrive without weapons from their home stations and, instead, sign for them at in-processing. Upon redeploying from Balad, the airmen would then turn in the weapons. “If you consider that most people pay about $85 each way for excess baggage charges for their weapon, this is a huge savings to the military,” said SMSgt. Jeffery Swartz, 332nd Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent of supply operations, deployed from Spangdahlem AB, Germany. A test phase has begun with nearly 1,000 airmen. The Air Force has been having airmen leave other gear in-theater, as well, to save money and wear and tear on the gear. (Includes Balad report by SSgt. Ruth Curfman)