KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – At the start of the day, Spc. Edem Bumekpor, a petroleum supply specialist for the 349th Quartermaster Company, attached to the 1103rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, is up early doing preventive maintenance on his M915A2 line-haul truck here.
The 32-year-old specialist, spends his days in Afghanistan driving military equipment to various locations on Kandahar to include the Defense Logistics Agency.
“We can’t do anything until we get our maintenance done and that’s an important step,” said Bumekpor, with a wide grin. “The mornings are also a time when I think about safety before the day’s mission.”
“Safety is my priority, always checking to make sure everything is clear before moving my truck, ensuring to keep my eyes open,” he added.
After his maintenance checks are done and fuel is topped off, Bumekpor drives out to the retrosort yard where he begins loading his truck with such things as vehicle parts or other military supplies.
Bumekpor works closely with equipment operators who drive forklifts and other heavy machinery that place equipment loads on his truck. Along with this, he ensures each piece of equipment or tri-wall box is strapped down.
“You’ve got to make sure it’s prepped securely, which is important because I move about 12 or more, 20-foot equivalent containers worth of equipment a day,” said Bumekpor, while strapping down a tire on his truck trailer. “It’s one of the best jobs I could ever have and I really do enjoy it.”
As part of the 82nd Sustainment Brigade-U.S. Central Command Materiel Recovery Element mission, Bumekpor said he and his fellow CMRE teammates are working hard to get useful equipment back to the Soldiers who may need it at locations throughout the world, especially as some bases in Afghanistan close and U.S. forces eventually redeploy.
“We’re doing a good job of saving taxpayer’s money and I wouldn’t be surprised if not millions every day, and being part of that mission is thrilling for me,” said the specialist, who holds a technical degree in accounting from Accra Polytechnic, a college in his native country of Ghana. “We come across a lot of very expensive and useful items, so it’s great that we can put them back in the military system.”
When not hauling equipment, Bumekpor is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in accounting from American Military University in his downtime, while also chasing other pursuits to keep deployment stress low.
“I plan on going to Officer Candidate School so I can specialize in accounting with the National Guard,” said Bumekpor, who is married and has spent two years in the Army National Guard.
“In order to stay resilient, I read, play soccer and take things one day at a time, always looking forward to tomorrow.”
“I’m constantly talking to my Family back home and that’s what keeps me from feeling left out about what’s going on while I’m gone,” he added, while straightening out some equipment on his truck trailer.
After ensuring the first load is strapped down on his truck and ready to roll, Bumekpor reflects on the deployment and the progress his team has made.
“It’s been a real eye opener,” said Bumekpor, pointing to his truck. “I didn’t get a lot of training on these types of trucks before the deployment, so it’s been a great opportunity to get some experience,” he said.
“The mission is going extremely well, and on most days, we’re well ahead of what we’re supposed to accomplish to meet our goal,” he added with a smile. “If anyone were to ask me how well we’re doing, I’d say that, as with any job, there are always a few small areas where we could improve, but overall, we’re doing a great job, making great strides one day at a time.”