Charleston officials support Operation Enduring Freedom build-up
by Airman 1st Class Ian Hoachlander
Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs
4/15/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- Members of the 4th Marine Logistics Group, 4th Atlanta Support Battalion, Charlie Company here are moving shipments of mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicles overseas to a number of remote locations supporting the build-up for Operation Enduring Freedom.
M-ATVs are armored vehicles with improved mobility and are currently being deployed to Afghanistan, that has rough and mountainous off-road environments.
These vehicles can support four passengers and one gunner, can reach a maximum speed of 65 mph and weigh less than 25,000 pounds.
Before arriving at Joint Base Charleston, the members of Charlie Company, who all reside in South Carolina, were deployed to the Southwest Asia for four months. During that time, the Marines were asked if they would like to volunteer for a follow-up mission after their deployment. This mission included preparing supplies to be sent overseas.
"We're all reservists working here," said Marine Staff Sgt. Jamison Johnson. "Following a deployment, you can get off orders after two weeks, but all of the Marines here volunteered to participate in this mission, working 10 to 16 hour days. I cannot make them go home and they will continue working until the mission is complete."
At Joint Base Charleston, the Marines have been tasked with receiving, processing and loading a large portion of these vehicles heading to Southwest Asia. Not only are the Marines working at Joint Base Charleston with the Air Force, but also they work with the Army, Navy and Coast Guard at the Naval Weapons Station to prepare more equipment for departure.
"We're at Joint Base Charleston as well as the Naval Weapons Station to load up equipment and send it to Afghanistan," Sergeant Johnson said . "All the equipment leaving Charleston includes M-ATVs, but at the port we're moving a little bit of everything, working with the Army 841st Transportation Battalion."
"I have been here since the operation began in December," said Marine Cpl. Matthew Netzel. "This operation has grown from one Marine working at Joint Base Charleston, to as many as 10 Marines working at each site."
Sergeant Johnson said even though some of the Marines have been activated since May of 2009, they continue their hard work, staying in high spirits and are enjoying the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with their sister services.
"It's nice to work with the Air Force," Sergeant Johnson said . "The aerial port has given us everything we need and we work so well together. They are a top-notch group. I have learned that working together as a group we can learn so much from one another. Every service has its advantages and disadvantages, but coming together has really made this process work to its full potential."
With the focus of operations shifting toward Afghanistan, the equipment being sent overseas is necessary to continue supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
"This is a very essential mission to help servicemembers serving in the area of responsibility," Corporal Netzel said. "The equipment that is going overseas is going to be used to help save my fellow Marines and servicemembers, and I get a pretty good feeling knowing we are participating in a mission such as this."