BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan--Dan Rather, American journalist, former news anchor for the CBS Evening News and currently managing editor and anchor of the television news magazine "Dan Rather Reports" on the cable channel AXS TV, visited the 401st Army Field Support Brigade Mar. 11 to learn about and obtain video footage of the 401st retrograde mission. Rather and his team met with Col. Mark A. Page, 401st AFSB commander, and brigade staff for a short overview brief of the 401st retrograde mission. The brief at brigade headquarters included an explanation of theater provided equipment; a description of the various modes and routes used to retrograde equipment; and how decisions on retrograde and disposition of equipment made by higher headquarters are executed by the two battalions of the 401st. Paget explained the evolution of mission complexity with a story about his own Army experience - from an M151A2 Jeep during the Cold War in Germany, to a HMMWV in Desert Storm, to add-on gypsy armor in Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a MaxxPro MSU (MRAP Survivability Upgrade) in Afghanistan. "Let's get out there in the RPAT yard and get your boots dirty Mr. Rather!" said Paget at the end of the brief. Moving to the Logistics Task Force Bagram Redistribution Property Assistance Team yard, Rather and his team spent more than two hours talking to and filming the people who make retrograde a reality. Rather saw Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, turning in equipment; serial numbers being verified; vehicles being searched for loose ammunition and explosives; government furnished equipment being removed from vehicles; and, how non-rolling stock is received and processed for retrograde.
Rather next moved to an observation platform where Lt. Col. Todd W. Burnley, AFSBn-BAF, 401st AFSB commander, explained how vehicles were staged in yards depending on their disposition and destination. He discussed how vehicles are transported by U.S. Air Force, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and other methods.
After a short ride in a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle driven by Karen Sagaribay, LTF Bagram primary hand receipt holder, Rather saw how vehicles are washed and cleaned in accordance with the requirements for their mode of transport and destination.
During his three hours with the 401st, Rather had the opportunity to meet some of the Soldiers, Civilians and contractors who are the 401st and see their dedicated support of the retrograde mission that means Warfighters return home and the equipment they used while deployed is properly accounted for and safely returned to the United States.