From performing one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Air Force to setting up, running and perfecting a housing community of over 4,000 Afghan evacuees, Capt. Todd Locke, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight commander, has had a very interesting and unique experience at Ramstein Air Base.
Locke is the “Pod Boss” for Pod-one here. The Pod Boss is the director of operations and oversees all activities inside each of the Pods. This includes the packaging and distributing of food, ensuring security and sanitation, and general day-to-day events.
Each Pod is a secure area on RAB where evacuees are being housed as a self-contained unit. Every Pod has a medical tent, a food tent, restroom facilities and sleeping tents for the evacuees.
Locke’s day starts with a meeting with all other Pod bosses, they go over their plans for the day, discuss the flow of incoming and outgoing evacuees and how they will be handled.
Throughout the day, Locke ensures augmentees and other workers have everything they need for the evacuees to be safe and comfortable.
“Our main goal is to make them comfortable,” said Locke. “We let them know they’re safe, that they will be taken care of, and if we need to adjust we are more than happy to accommodate that.”
Locke has to ensure the several thousand evacuees in his Pod get fed. He does this by organizing the meal preparation and distribution effort.
Additionally, several security protocols are in place to ensure neither servicemembers nor evacuees are ever in harm’s way. This includes placing unarmed security inside the Pods around high traffic areas, and other security members at exit and entry points to the Pod to control access. Locke also assists with getting other supplies to evacuees such as shoes, jackets, blankets, toys, and games to all evacuees who want or need anything.
“It’s been amazing to see how quickly each Pod developed their own style based,” Locke said. “Other Pods are set up differently so they do different things, it takes on the flavor from their volunteers and the director of operations, and just seeing what works.”
In addition to U.S. Air Force augmentees, the U.S. Army and German Bundeswehr are also assisting where they can, such as providing security or handing out meals and water.
“We have a large contingent of augmentees, from the U.S Army to the U.S. Air Force, along with German forces,”Locke said. “It’s been awesome to have everyone come together for a single mission. We couldn’t do it without them.”