PARWAN, Afghanistan United States Special Forces Operational Detachments Alpha operate in some of the most remote locations of Afghanistan. The narrow valleys and mountaintops make constant access to these locations extremely difficult.
Despite the rough terrain SF ODAs require constant resupply of the basics such as ammo, food, water and clothing. The Logistics Barn, referred to as the Log Barn for short, out of Camp Montrond, Bagram Airfield, keep the supplies rolling in so that operations can continue.
“Without the Log Barn the ODAs mission will ultimately fail,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Edwards, the service detachment non-commissioned officer in charge for Headquarters Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group. “Everything they need or want comes through the Log Barn.”
Over the past year the Log Barn has moved approximately nine million pounds of supplies and equipment to the ODAs operating in forward locations throughout Special Operations Task Force – East. Approximately half million to a million pounds are shipped each month. First, the request for supplies or equipment is sent up to the supply sergeant on Camp Montrond by the USSF Soldiers on the ground in dozens of locations within the eastern and northern provinces. Then, supply sergeant then gets the items from the proper channels, either locally or from back in the states. Lastly, the supplies are then packaged and shipped out to their ultimate destination by the Log Barn.
Supplies are moved by either ground or air out of Bagram Airfield depending on what is being moved and how difficult it is to reach the destination.
“The preferred method is always by ground,” said Edwards. “But anything that can potentially be used against us will be dropped in by air.”
The typical convoy employs local truckers to move the items to their destination in what the Soldiers stationed in Afghanistan affectionately refer to as “jingle trucks,” due to the grandiose and colorful decorations that adorn them.
However, some items require an armed escort to make sure they arrive at their destination safely; in these occasions the Log Barn employs the Tactical Fleet Logistical Escort of which Edwards is a member.
“When the ODA can’t come and pick the item up, the TACFLE will bring it to them,” said Edwards.
Through the Log Barn, USSF have a reliable and capable means of getting their need for basic supplies fulfilled, however not every request is as mundane as beans and bullets. A special request for items like a barbecue grill and steaks keeps morale high and improves the quality of life at the sites where amenities are minimal, if not non-existent.
“No request is unusual or impossible to us,” said Edwards. “With the high level of training and responsibility that the ODAs have, whatever they want, they deserve it and they will get it.”