FARAH, Afghanistan --
In a combined effort, coalition forces conducted a ground recovery of a F-2000 Mirage aircraft May 27.
U.S., French and Italian forces conducted an 81-mile combat logistics patrol from Regional Command Southwest to retrieve the French jet without incident in the Bakwa district of Regional Command West.
Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) took the lead on the mission. In direct support of the battalion were teams from 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 2nd MLG (Fwd.), along with the Army’s 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion providing heavy equipment transport capabilities, an Aircraft Recovery Fire Fighting team from Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, a French aircraft recovery team and an Italian team escorting the convoy from the RC boundary to the crash site where they continued to provide security for the duration of the operation.
“The MLG was very aggressive in jumping on this mission,” said Lt. Col. Jim Stone, 2nd MLG (Fwd.) deputy operations officer. “We realized early on that a ground recovery was our best option rather than pulling critical air assets out of the RC Southwest area of operation.”
EOD and ARFF worked closely alongside the French team to dismantle the aircraft as much as possible prior to loading the wings of the aircraft onto a Logistics Vehicle System Replacement and the body onto a M870 Trailer.
“It was the most impressive event I had the privilege to witness since being here,” said Maj. Thomas Parmiter, CLB-8 executive officer and mission commander. “The CLB-8 Marines truly impressed me with their hustle and discipline, the MWSS-272 team was top notch with their intensity and focus.
“The EOD team was no less impressive with their exceptional knowledge of the aircraft,” he continued. “The French were a pleasure to work with despite the language barrier, and the Italians were professional and remained patient despite the inevitable friction we encountered.”
“Normally these recovery missions take two or three days,” said Master Sgt. Greg Harlan, ARFF staff noncommissioned officer in charge. “This was just accomplished in one day, that’s phenomenal.”