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 visited the base on a tour arranged by the U.S. Air Force.
MANAS TRANSIT CENTER, Kyrgyzstan – The slight evening drizzle had turned to a steady twilight rain, but Airman 1st Class Dustin Harder continued digging into the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker’s engines, using the jet’s broad wingspan to help stay dry. The tanker had finished a refueling mission over Afghanistan and would be needed back in the air soon, ready to deliver more fuel to thirsty fighter jets providing air cover for U.S. and coalition ground forces or to cargo planes needing to extend their flight paths.
MANAS TRANSIT CENTER, Kyrgyzstan – Taking advantage of an invitation to tour this small U.S. air base as a friend of a civilian Kyrgyz national who works here, tobacco producer Ulvgbek Abazgano took a moment to reflect as he struggled to describe what he was feeling. The roads are paved and smooth. The buildings, primarily reinforced tents and other temporary quarters common among U.S. expeditionary bases, all have hot and cold running water, flush toilets, heat and air conditioning. Food is plentiful.