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Liaison officers provide support at the “tip of the spear”

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- As tensions with Iraq continue, liaison officers from U.S. Transportation Command are supporting U.S. Central Command’s war preparations by ensuring troops, their equipment, and supplies get where they are needed, when they are needed.

USTRANSCOM provides air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and war.
To help coordinate this vital movement of personnel and material, USTRANSCOM has assigned full-time liaison officers at all geographic unified combatant command headquarters, including USCENTCOM.

“Our LNOs to supported commands, such as USCENTCOM are the commander’s (CDRTRANSCOM’s) personal representatives,” said Air Force Col. Curtis Ross, deputy director of operations, USTRANSCOM. “Their primary purpose is to facilitate communications and to ensure the warfighter’s requirements and priorities are understood. The goal is to provide exquisite support to the warfighter – and our LNOs have a well deserved reputation of making that happen.”

“USCENTCOM is unique in its employment of LNOs,” said Capt.Tom Welke, the Senior USTRANSCOM LNO at USCENTCOM Rear Headquarters at McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla. “Because of operational commitments, USCENTCOM headquarters is currently organized in two locations.” Welke explained. “The Forward Headquarters is in Qatar; the USCENTCOM Rear Headquarters is at MacDill AFB.”

USCENTCOM has also established a Joint Mobility Center in Kuwait. In addition to the seven LNOs at USCENTCOM Rear, six at USCENTCOM Forward, and five at the JMC, Welke says USTRANSCOM has an additional LNO assigned to USCENTCOM J-2, (intelligence) at USCENTCOM Forward, for a total of 19 LNOs.

Welke and his staff are responsible for coordinating air, sea and surface transportation requests between USTRANSCOM and USCENTCOM planners, as well as a variety of actions with USCENTCOM directorates and with LNO's from coalition countries.

Welke, a Naval reservist from Acworth, Ga., was recalled to active duty in October 2002. In his civilian job, this Navy Supply School graduate works for his sister service, as Chief, Readiness Division, with U.S. Army Reserve Command, Atlanta, Ga.

USTRANSCOM LNOs in Qatar, like Cmdr. Gary Boo, another mobilized Naval reservist, focus on theater specific transportation requirements and movements, where as the Rear Headquarters is fully engaged in operations throughout the USCENTCOM Area of Responsibility.

“My job is to expedite the handling of transportation problems to achieve a timely and satisfactory resolution,” said Boo. He and his fellow LNOs ensure USCENTCOM Forward Headquarters is provided with airlift, sealift and surface transportation experience on a 24/7 basis.

“I work in a fast paced environment,” said Boo, “with some of the best people I have ever worked with. All are professional, very competent and dedicated to the task at hand.”

Boo, from Columbia, Ill, is a former chief petty officer and has served in a variety of supply and logistics positions both in the reserve and on active duty.

The JMC coordinates intra-theater transportation requirements and movements. “Our main mission here,” said Cmdr. Joe Hennessy, LNO at the JMC, “is to work on coordinating the Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration piece of cargo and passengers coming into the AOR.”

Hennessy, a career naval supply officer, originally from Bohemia, N.Y., said, “The whole process of managing the movement of cargo and passengers throughout the AOR requires an incredible amount of coordination and planning, and we in the JMC feel as though we are at the center of that effort.”

Phone: 618-817-4999
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