INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
There are many factors that go into how the Airmen of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, receive their food, household goods and supplies. Before the product is delivered to the customer, many moving parts and multiple agencies must work together seamlessly.
When it comes to receiving food and cargo, the 728th Air Mobility Squadron, 39th Medical Group public health office and the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron customs liaison office must come together and collaborate to ensure the products are delivered in a safe and timely manner for public consumption. The process starts with the 728th receiving and offloading an aircraft full of resources.
“The 728th AMS mission is to provide support for cargo and passenger movement,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cody Madison, 728th AMS air terminal operations center NCOIC. “We accomplish this by providing the personnel, equipment, and expertise to facilitate rapid global mobility by getting personnel and equipment where it needs to be.”
Their roles consist of flying channel missions that are run weekly by a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules and a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in support of European Command. The mission requires the aircraft to move shipments of cargo and passengers from Ramstein AB, Germany, Aviano AB, Italy and Incirlik AB.
“The mission is important to all patrons at Incirlik because it is the lifeline of what we do here,” said Madison. “We live, work and eat here; without this mission it would be difficult to be the critical node we are in Air Mobility Command.”
After 728th AMS personnel are finished removing the shipment from the aircraft, public health personnel are available to inspect any of the items that contain food before it is delivered to the commissary and various dining facilities around base.
“Inspections happen intermittently upon request or if there is suspicion that the supply could be compromised,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Sang Do, 39th Medical Operations Squadron food safety and public sanitation NCOIC. “If public health is not able to complete their inspections, it could result in potentially hazardous foods being consumed by the base populace causing a foodborne illness outbreak.”
When public health is finished with their inspection, the customs liaison officer and Turkish customs assigned to the base examine the imported shipments coming off the plane.
“The Turkish customs personnel check for the cargo manifests and Customs Declaration form,” said Bulent Degisme, 39th LRS customs liaison assistant.
Once the Turkish customs has proof of documents, the CLO then coordinates with Customs and TurAF to inspect the shipment after the 728th personnel have offloaded the cargo.
“Shipments not requiring any clearance documents are cleared after Turkish customs and TurAF inspect the shipment,” said Mehmet Polatoz, 39th LRS customs liaison specialist. “For mission essential cargo the CLO requests Turkish customs for clearance on holidays and weekends.”
In order to accomplish this process in a timely manner Turkish customs and the CLO work three shifts to make sure that shipments are always being processed and inspected for the base.
While there are different ways to import goods to this base, this specific process highlights how well U.S. Airmen and our mission partners work together. While each unit has a specific role and unique purpose, each unit is also reliant on one another to make sure the mission is successfully completed.