Weapons Check

Air Forces Central began implementing a new procedure theater-wide in January under which airmen rotating back home do not take their M-9s and M-16s with them, but rather leave them for the airmen arriving to start a combat tour. This prepositioning initiative was tested last year at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and is expected to save the Air Force about $3.6 million annually in baggage fees, which equates to about $106 per round trip for an airman. It also spares the airmen from having to lug the equipment with them in and out of theater. “It’s a win-win for the Air Force and the individual,” said SMSgt. Darlington Cookey-Gam, AFCENT’s logistics superintendent of deployed equipment. The new procedure does not apply to airmen serving in joint expeditionary taskings, or those airmen in security forces, explosive ordnance disposal teams, RED HORSE units, or to battlefield weathermen or those assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. (Shaw report by 1st Lt. Lisa Spilinek)