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Gateway To Afghanistan Kyrgyzstan archive

THURSDAY, DEC. 9, 2010

Nominee predicts continued U.S. presence at Manas

The woman nominated by the White House to serve as the next ambassador to Kyrgyzstan predicts Manas Transit Center will be available to the U.S. military for as long as it's needed. In comments before the U.S. Senate panel considering her confirmation, nominee Pamela Spratlen...

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MONDAY, OCT. 25, 2010

SUNDAY, OCT. 24, 2010

Manas coverage in print editions

Here's an electronic recap of the Manas-related articles published over the past week in The Spokesman-Review's print editions:Tuesday (10.19.2010): Front-line support -- A look at a typical refueling mission over the rugged battlefields of Afghanistan.Thursday (10.21.2010): Rebuilding hope -- A look at the humanitarian assistance...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 22, 2010

Col. Dwight Sones, commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing in Kyrgyzstan, has made community outreach a key focus of the U.S. air base. The base hosted an estimated 2,000 Kyrgyz visitors Oct. 18, 2010, for tours and demonstrations celebrating the more than 600 civilians from the Bishkek area who work at the Manas Transit Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Manas Transit Center

Manas Transit Center, where hundreds of airmen and women from Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane are regularly deployed, is a key supply and refueling hub for U.S. and coalition combat operations in nearby Afghanistan. Photographer Colin Mulvany and deputy city editor David Wasson recently...

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Compare and contrast

Airman 1st Class Travis Carter had been in Baghdad when combat operations dwindled and he found out he'd be redeployed to Kyrgyzstan.Initially worried about what it would be like, he's now glad to be at Manas, assigned to the logistics and readiness squadron. He helps...

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 20, 2010

Col Dwight Sones, commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing in Kyrgyzstan, has made community outreach a key focus of the U.S. air base. The base hosted an estimated 2,000 Kyrgyz visitors Oct. 18, 2010 for tours and demonstrations celebrating the more than 600 civilians from the Bishkek area who work at the Manas Transit Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

From 'need to know' to 'need to share'

Manas commanders regularly struggle with what they consider flawed perceptions of the U.S. air base's military role showing up in Russian, Kyrgyz and other predominantly foreign media. So, Manas is turning inside out the military's precautionary mindset that all information be guarded on a “need...

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TUESDAY, OCT. 19, 2010

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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SUNDAY, OCT. 17, 2010

Manas Transit Center���s bladder farm can hold nearly 4 million gallons of fuel, most of it aviation grade. Deliveries arrive from Bishkek around the clock, keeping the 20 bladders filled, each of which can hold 200,000 gallons. It takes four to five tarmac fuel trucks to prepare a KC-135R Stratotanker for each refueling mission. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

When a full bladder is a good thing 

There's a saying among KC-135 crews that goes something like, "You can't kick ass without tanker gas." It's a not-so-subtle way of reminding hotshot fighter jocks that the range and versatility of their sleek, high-powered strike jets -- particularly when fully armed -- would be...

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About 120 members of the Iowa National Guard, part of an advance crew for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, waited patiently in lines Sunday outside of a Manas supply tent, where they filed in based on body size to be issued body armor. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Guardsmen from the Heartland

About 120 members of the Iowa National Guard, part of an advance crew for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, waited patiently in lines Sunday outside of a Manas supply tent, where they filed in based on body size to be issued body armor.The group was...

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Two beer limit

One of the surprises at Manas is its selection of beer, which includes an edgy, high-octane Russian import called "9" that blends a bit of vodka with the hops. And it's just $2 a bottle.But you'd be wise to savor each sip because the base...

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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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A Turkish meal serve from a shipping container was a welcome change from the normal base food. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Turkish surprise

The best-kept dining secret at Manas Transit Center is a Turkish cafeteria operating in a converted cargo container.It's surprisingly clean, quaint and delicious -- the kind of place that would steal the show if the Food Network ever did a Kyrgyzstan edition of its TV...

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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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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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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 13, 2010

Kyrgyzstan bound

This is a different way of flying. Cargo is tied to the sides of the interior fuselage. Pallets are strapped to the floor. You carry your own food. There's just two window seats, and those are actually benches. There's just one bathroom. Even with the...

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Fairchild Air Force Base supplies 80 percent of the military aircraft and flight crews operating out of Manas Transit Center, a key hub along one of the primary NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The small base, located outside the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek, is barely 400 miles from the Afghan border.