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Gateway To Afghanistan Colin Mulvany

MONDAY, OCT. 25, 2010

TUESDAY, OCT. 19, 2010

A child holding a balloon watches from a classroom window at the Solnyshko preschool in Vasilievka, Kyrgyzstan, as airmen from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing make a humanitarian visit at the school Monday, Oct 18, 2010.  (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman Review)

Airmen visit preschool

Airmen from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing out of Fairchild Air Force Base made a humanitarian visit to the Solnyshko preschool in Vasilievka, Kyrgyzstan, on Monday, Oct 18, 2010. The children received donated winter coat, balloons, stuffed animals and school supplies, as well as the...

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At the Manas Transit Center, Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, make preparations for haeding downrange in to Afghanistan Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Off to war

At the Manas Transit Center, Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, make final preparations for haeding downrange in to Afghanistan Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010.

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MONDAY, OCT. 18, 2010

The donkey cart is a common sight in the small villiages near the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. I spotted this one passing a pre-school Fairchild airmen were visiting Monday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A common sight

The donkey cart is a common sight in the small villiages near the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. I spotted this one passing a pre-school that Fairchild airmen were visiting Monday.

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At the Manas Transit Center, Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, unload  gear in preparation for haeding down range in to Afghanistan Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Nursing a double tall

It is 12:30 a.m. and I just gave up my bunk to a U.S. Army officer heading to Afghanistan. I have only six hours left of my stay at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. This place is jamming with a surge of new arrivals...

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SUNDAY, OCT. 17, 2010

A boneyard of Soviet era planes sits on the edge of the Manas International Airport. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Relics of Soviet past

The U.S. air base shares the same runway as Bishkek's commercial airport, which is littered with decaying aircraft from Kyrgyzstan's recent Soviet past. Many of the Soviet-era buildings around the airport, some still in use, show severe deterioration as well.Dozens of dilapidated aircraft -- ranging...

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SATURDAY, OCT. 16, 2010

During Family and Friends Day at the Manas Transit Center Saturday, Airman 1St Class Joseph Riemer with the Explosive Ordinance Disposial, has his photo taken with Kyrgyz resident Louiza Abdullaeva. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Bonding with Americans

Bishkek lawyer Louiza Abvullaeva, decked out in leather pants, stilletto heals and a designer T-shirt, was among the estimated 2,000 Kyrgyz residents to visit Manas Transit Center during the air base's annual Friends and Family Day on Saturday.“I have a bond with American people,” Abvullaeva...

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Sleepless in Kyrgyzstan

It is 4:40 a.m. in the morning in Kyrgyzstan and I can't sleep. I've been bunking with an Army soldier who is headed home from Afghanistan. He, like many others we've met, have that far-away stare that is so common with guys coming out of...

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In a delicate dance between man and machine high above Afghanistan, an F-15E  Eagle tops off its tanks with jet fuel provided by a Fairchild Air Force Base 92nd Air Refuling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker on deployment at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A delicate maneuver

In a delicate dance between man and machine high above Afghanistan, an F-15E Eagle tops off its tanks with jet fuel provided by a Fairchild Air Force Base 92nd Air Refuling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker on deployment at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

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FRIDAY, OCT. 15, 2010

As morning light breaks over the Atlantic Ocean, Airman 1St Class James White with 92nd Air Refueling Wing from Fairchild Air Force Base, sleeps during his 9-hour flight to England in a KC-135R air refueling tanker. White was on his way to a four-month deployment in Kyrgyzstan that will involve deicing aircraft at the Manas Transit Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Sleep when you can...

As morning light breaks over the Atlantic Ocean, Airman 1St Class James White with 92nd Air Refueling Wing from Fairchild Air Force Base, sleeps during his nine-hour flight to England in a KC-135R air refueling tanker Oct. 14, 2010. White is on his way to...

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From left to right, Daniel Goodman, senior airman, and Josh Myers and Antonio Rapp, both airmen 1st class, sit aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker flight form Fairchild Air Force Base to Kyrgyzstan, where they're deploying to Manas Transit Center and will help deice aircraft this winter. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Preparing for winter

The temperature in Bishkek when the KC-135 landed at Manas was in the low 70s, a bit of an October oddity for this part of Central Asia, but five of the Fairchild-based airmen aboard are a reminder that winter is on the way.They are the...

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After an overnight in England, Capt. Chris Dieter and his co-pilot Lincoln Olsen prepare to land their KC-135R Stratotanker at Manas Transit Center Oct. 15, 2010. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Prepare for landing

After an overnight in England, Capt. Chris Dieter and his co-pilot Lincoln Olsen prepare to land their KC-135R Stratotanker at Manas Transit Center Oct. 15, 2010. The night before, over the Atlantic Ocean, the crew was given a front row seat to a massive Northern...

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THURSDAY, OCT. 14, 2010

Airmen with the 92nd  Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base strap in for a seventeen hour flight to the Manas Transit Center in  Kyrgyzstan. The aircrew and five maintainers flew to Kyrgyzstan aboard a Fairchild KC-135R Stratotanker refueling aircraft for a five-month deployment. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Not business class

Airmen with the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base strap in for a seventeen hour flight to the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. The aircrew and five maintainers are in route to Kyrgyzstan aboard a Fairchild KC-135R Stratotanker refueling aircraft for a...

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TUESDAY, OCT. 12, 2010

During taxiing to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, our pilot noticed that he had trouble steering the nose gear of aircraft.  We have deplaned and await word whether we can continue on with the trip tonight, or come back tomorrow and try again. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Sputter....

During taxiing to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, our pilot noticed that he had trouble steering the nose gear of aircraft. We have deplaned and await word whether we can continue on with the trip tonight, or come back tomorrow and try again.

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Our KC-135R Stratotanker is prepped for takeoff from Fairchild Air Force Base Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010. We are headed to RAF Mildenhall, England, then on to Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

Don't forget your earplugs

The KC-135 is loaded and the deployment briefing is done. In addition to learning how to thwart potential hijackers, earplugs were passed out. Apparently, flying in a refueling tanker is quite a bit noisier than commercial jets. It's also so cold that sleeping bags are...

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Colin Mulvany
Colin Mulvany joined The Spokesman-Review in 1988. He currently is a photojournalist in the Photo Department covering daily news and Gonzaga basketball.

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