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Paul Diaz, a material examiner for the Kaiserslautern, Germany, Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, prepares a ping-pong table for shipment to Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan.
Paul Diaz, a material examiner for the Kaiserslautern, Germany, Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, prepares a ping-pong table for shipment to Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

Air Force Master Sgt. Rick Maddux knew there had to be some way to replace the worn-out plywood furniture used by troops at Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan.

The solution came from the Kaiserslautern Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office in Germany.

The office gets used furniture and other items from billeting, closed installations and when furniture is replaced. After a 42-day period, if the furniture is not claimed by other military agencies, the office sells it.

The Kaiserslautern office jumped in to obtain items for the Kandahar troops before they could be sold off, said Maddux, first sergeant for the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar.

“It’s made a tremendous difference,” he said.

Maddux and Senior Master Sgt. Alan Reynolds, the military liaison for the Kaiserslautern office, are coordinating several furniture airlifts to Afghanistan. The first airlift was completed Nov. 3 when nine pallets loaded with chairs, couches, desks and filing cabinets arrived at the airfield.

Ten of the couches were moved to the passenger terminal at the airfield, and Maddux said they have been used continually by tired troops awaiting departures.

“[Maddux] called and said, ‘Man, it’s like Christmas here,’” Reynolds said. “A lot of people were required to sit on the ground [at the terminal] ... because they had nothing.”

A second airlift, which will include washers, dryers and electric stoves, is planned.

“The sand over here is brutal,” Maddux said. “It will wear out any electric item quickly.”

David Craft, a property disposal specialist, has contacted the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office in Stockton, Calif.; Dyess, Texas; and Mainz-Kastel, Germany. All have agreed to participate in future airlifts.

Furniture airlifts to Iraq may also become a reality, Reynolds said.

“I am certain that it will be and that’s what we’re here for,” he said. “Everyone would much rather reutilize it to another military unit than have to sell it.”

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