Incirlik Readiness: Providing global reach one bed at a time

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles designed to highlight mission readiness at Incirlik Air Base.

Incirlik Air Base has been described as a place that's not quite like being deployed, and yet not quite like being at home station. This is in large part because of the installation's geographical location at the crossroad between Europe and the Middle East. This unique feature is what has made Incirlik Air Base an asset to the U.S. Air Force and NATO for nearly 60 years and allows the 39th Air Base Wing to meet the first part its mission statement - to provide global reach and global power for America.

The base has hosted many of U.S and NATO troops during contingency operations over the years. The 39th Force Support Squadron plays a key role in the 39th Air Base Wing readiness mission by providing bed-down capabilities and procedures that ensure the troops have a place to sleep,.

Whether it's for a night or six months, Patriot Village and sometimes the Hodja Inn are where personnel deployed to Incirlik AB or other locations call home. Currently, Patriot Village beds are being used by approximately 400 Dutch air force and army personnel deployed to the region as part of NATO's commitment to enhance Turkish air defenses against Syrian ballistic missile threats.

"We support contingency troops going down range and returning from Afghanistan. As well, during the draw down from Iraq, the majority of the troops would come through here and stay within Patriot Village," said Joseph Dyson, 39th Force Support Squadron sustainment services chief. "Patriot Village is used for situations like this due to it being the largest contingency lodging in U.S. Air Forces in Europe."

Currently 1,920 troops can be supported with a place to sleep on Incirlik AB, but during a surge up to 2,944 bed spaces can be provided. While no one can say if or when a situation will arise when Incirlik's lodging capacity will be tested such as it was during OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH back in the early 2000's, 39th FSS is certainly prepared to sustain those numbers.

"Any unknown world event, natural disaster or unscheduled emergency landing of an aircraft can happen at a moment's notice," said Dyson. "39th FSS needs to be ready at all times to handle these types of situations."

To ensure Patriot Village residents living condition needs are met, 39th FSS is supported by the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron to keep these facilities within Air Force living standards. Upholding these standards can be costly, so the organizations found creative ways to maintain the village and save money at the same time.

"In the past, there has been funding specifically for overseas contingency operations. These OCO funds went away last year with the reductions across the Air Force, and a more creative way to stretch out wing dollars was necessary," said Dyson. Therefore, cannibalizing parts from items that were destined for Defense Logistics Agency disposition services allowed the life of items such as door handles and bunk bed parts to be extended.

Accommodating contingency operations has been a capability here for a long time, and will continue to be a primary readiness mission of the 39th ABW since the potential need of caring for U.S. and NATO troops at a moment's notice with a warm bed remains the same.