Deployable assets Mobility bags ready to go when needed at Robins

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Before a member from Robins is deployed anywhere in the world, one of the first stops they must make is to the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron's Individual Protection Equipment Element.

Inside the massive warehouse is where mobility bags are stored, maintained and issued. The eight members who keep things running smoothly ensure every item is readily available when needed, whether it's protective vests, gloves, rifles or other life-saving gear.

"We support everyone on this installation in some capacity, whether it is courtesy storage or they are our direct customers," said Suzanna Holloway, whose shop is also affectionately known as 'MOBAGS.'

Various mobility bags, some heavy, some light depending on its contents, are stored on separate shelves.

General purpose bags, known as 'A' bags, are the lightest, containing things like sleeping bags, ammo pouches, first-aid kits and insect repellent. These are more of the one-size-fits-all, and are prebuilt awaiting shipment as needed.

'B' bags, or cold-weather bags, are also stored nearby and are sized-items, which include parkas, mittens and boot inserts.

The heavy-hitting bags are the 'C' bags, which can weigh more than 40 pounds, with boots, chemical suits, gas mask filters and gloves.

Every item, whether waiting to ship out in dark green bags or stored elsewhere on site, is protected and cared for until they're ready to leave the building.

It's quite a job keeping track of millions of dollars' worth of equipment, but the shop's workers know exactly where each is located, who has possession of them, when it leaves and where it's going.

Sealed gas masks are also kept nearby and stored according to date as each must be regularly inspected.

Holloway emphasized, "When we issue military or civilians a gas mask, this will save their life. It's not a toy or a training item. Everyone needs to know how to use it."

M-50 gas masks are the latest chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear equipment issued; training on them is done throughout the year.

Richard Lemons, MOBAGS team member, routinely checks members' masks for leaks and inspects its drinking tube system. Out of 550 masks checked in the last four months, only three have not passed.

In a separate area, training bags are preserved. Inside are items like canteens, ammo pouches, boots and gloves that every active-duty member has responsibility for until they leave Robins.

Whether shipped in bulk or as single items, when bags leave or when training exercises are conducted once a quarter, bags are held in a large cargo area where they are weighed and finally boarded on waiting aircraft.

It's a task that each shop employee takes seriously, safeguarding people and the assets made to make sure they return home safely.

"I've been in the military and civilian world for 35 years, and this is one of the most enjoyable jobs I've ever had," said Harold England. "For the crew we employ and the mission we have, we supply the warfighter and help save lives."

Holloway agreed, concluding, "I work here and have been in supply half my life. When I came here and saw this deployment machine - it runs extremely efficiently. It's beautiful."