Building at Forbes Field to streamline deployments
Construction wraps up on the Forbes Field deployment facility. The 5,000-square-foot building was designed to help facilitate troop and equipment movement, working in concert with Building 1986 at Camp Funston. Photo by DOL.
Story by: Julie Fiedler
1ST INF. DIV. POST
About an hour east of Fort Riley, sits a new building that will significantly impact deployment and redeployment operations, the benefits of which are likely to be felt back on post.
"This is a great facility," said Scot Bird, installation transportation officer, Transportation Division, Directorate of Logistics. "It enhances the deployment (and) redeployment capabilities of Fort Riley."
The 5,000-square-foot facility, located at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., was designed specifically for Fort Riley's use in troop and equipment movement in and out of the area.
"Its primary purpose right now, that we're going to use it for, is on our outbound missions," Bird said. "It will also serve as the primary call forward area and staging area for the division's equipment."
The new facility has an operations room, briefing room, a small kitchen, showers, latrines, storage areas, a scale house and more. The facility also has a larger capacity and can accommodate hundreds of Soldiers.
All of these amenities and features enable greater flexibility and streamlining of operations.
"It gives us a command and control location during flights. It gives us a place where we can store or hold passengers in the event (of delays). We can run it 24/7 if need be. It's in a secured area," Bird said. "We also can use it as a reverse manifest site when Soldiers are redeploying, and they are landing in Forbes Field."
Previously, Soldiers would land at Forbes Field and come back to Fort Riley for the reverse manifest, an equipment turn-in and identification card swipe, before being bused to the redeployment building. The new facility will save that extra stop at Fort Riley.
"It actually will save some time on the amount of time that Soldiers will be away from their Family members during the reverse manifest process," Bird said.
Additionally, the building has more shelter provisions to ensure minimal exposure to the elements – something the previous facility did not have.
"A lot of the stuff had to be done outside with our equipment sitting outside," Bird said. "(Now), it gives us a safe haven out of the elements."
The facility's expanded capabilities can be helpful for joint inspections, which are required prior to deployments.
"We'll do a pre-inspection here at Fort Riley … Then we will push (equipment) up there to the staging area in a sterile area, where it's already been weighed, center balanced – the whole nine yards that we do – and, it's put in loads, in configurations," Bird said. "At that time, we will conduct the joint inspection."
Prior to being loaded onto aircraft for movement, the equipment must pass the joint inspection.
"This now allows us to have a facility up there to where we can actually have an operations group working, controlling the flow in reference to this (process)," Bird added.
The idea for the facility, which was conceived several years ago, started to come to life when construction began last year. Now the new facility is open and ready for use.