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Force Provider supports war

In a desolate area in the Afghanistan theater of operation, the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) moved and set up a small “city” as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

A product of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick), Force Provider was designed as a modular system of housing, food service, laundry, water and fuel storage and distribution, waste-water collection, electrical power, showers and latrines.

Other items in the containers include religious support equipment, satellite television, sports equipment, free-weights, and board and card games intended to provide morale, welfare and recreation activities.

Truck moving containers
Truck drivers at Sierra Army Depot move containers of Force Provider materials to Reno, Nev., for air shipment by military and commercial carriers.

Each module, also called a “base-camp-in-a-box,” can serve 550 people, and three modules were assembled at the base camp in November.

Fifty people are needed to support the camp. The camp will generate up to 939 kilowatts of power every day, according to AMC estimates. It will daily burn more than 6,700 gallons of fuel, run nearly 62,500 gallons of water, and dispose more than 63,000 gallons of wastewater.

The high-tech tents are designed to keep the soldiers dry and seal out the cold air during the harsh central Asian winter.

Behind the scenes were crews working to ensure the base camp would be ready.

A “city in a box,” Force Provider containers are moved to a palletizing area in preparation for air shipment from Sierra Army Depot.

The Department of the Army gave AMC eight weeks to ship and set up the new camp, but AMC accomplished the task in nearly six weeks.

Active-duty soldiers and reservists in Europe and the United States moved more than 450 containers from storage sites in Luxembourg and the United States in November. They took hundreds of thousands of pounds of tents, power generators, water storage and distribution equipment, and kitchens large enough to feed hot meals to more than 1,600 people three times daily.

Hundreds of containers sitting in storage in Albany, Ga., and Luxembourg were shipped to a staging area near Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Once in Germany, soldiers from the 21st Theater Support Command based in Germany and AMC’s Combat Equipment Battalion based in Luxembourg palletized the containers for military airlift to the Afghanistan theater of operation.

Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, Calif., was among the U.S. locations supporting the shipment of Force Provider. Operational Project Stocks material are stored and maintained at the depot.

“It’s been nonstop work and planning,” Jon France, Sierra’s transportation officer, said. “Support of soldiers with Op Stocks is 85 percent of what we do.”

A typical mission order was received just two days before large military and commercial cargo jets began landing to move badly needed materials to soldiers at an unnamed location.

More than 100 containers were checked, palletized for air shipment and loaded onto three Air Force C-5s and four contracted 747s.

“It took a cooperative effort to meet this mission because we did not have aircraft loading equipment to side-load a 747,” France said. “We coordinated with the Air Mobility Command and the Nevada Air National Guard to meet all the aircraft staging requirements for this shipment of Force Provider.”

C-5 Aircraft
Sierra Army Depot ship containers of Force Provider equipment using an Air Force C-5 aircraft.

Civilian technical specialists from Natick were the first boots on the ground to orchestrate the construction of the base camp. They surveyed the site, designed the layout, organized site preparations, supervised shipment and receipt of the containers, and oversaw setup of the camp.

With AMC’s job completed, soldiers from the 542nd Quartermaster Co. (Force Provider) from Erie, Pa., and 507th Corps Support Group from Fort Bragg, N.C., took over operations at the new camp in early December. They are responsible for sustainment operations, officials said.

AMC has been working on the Force Provider program for nearly seven years, sending modules to support Army humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in Honduras, Bosnia, Guatemala, Grand Turks Island, Haiti and Guantanamo Bay.

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