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Timeline for parts cut in half

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- Airmen assigned to the 320th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron began getting parts March 22 in half the time it previously took.

A Department of Defense-contracted carrier streamlined normal customs procedures to deliver cargo directly to the designated unit.

The airmen and other base leaders coordinated with the U.S. Embassy and host-nation authorities to set up a two-week trial period to determine cost effectiveness and benefits for the base from the direct delivery.

"We were having a problem receiving (mission-capable) parts," said Capt. Dan Lemon, 320th EAPS commander. "They were taking seven to eight days to get here. With direct delivery, we can cut that time in half."

Some of the packages that arrive here are rerouted to two other bases within the theater. The new system should cut the delivery time for them from 10 to 12 days to five or six.

"To receive critical parts in 50 percent less time will hopefully help our maintainers," Lemon said. "Because if planes aren't flying, we're not doing our mission."

The first delivery consisted of 614 packages, valued at more than $400,000.

Lemon said the direct delivery affects more than just the flying mission.

"We're receiving parts for vehicles, K-loaders, (aerospace ground) equipment and everything else that has an impact on our day-to-day mission," he said.

The new procedure is a welcome change, according to maintainers.

"This is a really big thing," said Lt. Col. Mark McLeod, 320th Expeditionary Maintenance Group commander. "All over the world the impediment (has been) moving parts to the customers."

He said with direct delivery, about 70 percent of non-mission capable time will be cut out.

"Everything about this new program is good," McLeod said. "This should be a model for all foreign military interactions across the world. This is the best I've ever seen."

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