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No little things left undone

 

Written by Spc. Michael Vanpool
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

101st Sustainment Brigade - LifelinersFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionBagram Airfield, Afghanistan – Back at Fort Campbell, KY, or Fort Bragg, NC, parachute riggers are distinctive, from the signature red baseball hats to the collection of badges adjoining their uniforms.

Once they deploy here, the badges are tucked away in a shadow box and the caps only worn around the old airplane hangar called the Rigger Shed. But that doesn’t keep them from keeping their own style.

The riggers of the 11th Quartermaster Detachment, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade are adding their touch to the Rigger Shed on Bagram, including a 14 foot mural depicting their unique job.

Sgt. 1st Class Narada Johnson and Spc. Blake Chambers, of the 11th Quartermaster Detachment, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, look on at the 14 foot mural recently completed in the Rigger Shed at Bagram Air Field. Chambers completed the mural in his spare time, adding distinctions of the unique job of a U.S. Army Rigger. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool)

Sgt. 1st Class Narada Johnson and Spc. Blake Chambers, of the 11th Quartermaster Detachment, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, look on at the 14 foot mural recently completed in the Rigger Shed at Bagram Air Field. Chambers completed the mural in his spare time, adding distinctions of the unique job of a U.S. Army Rigger. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool)

When a new group of riggers from the 11th QM arrived here this past April, they decided to fix up their little piece of Bagram.

“We got here and decided to do some shop upkeep,” 1st Lt. Chelsea Craig, the commander of the 11th QM Det. “It puts our signature on the job and lets future units know that the 11th Quartermaster was here.”

Spc. Blake Chambers, a rigger with the 11th QM Det., got to work soon after coming back from his rest and recuperation leave with the paramount piece of the renovation, a 14 foot mural. The mural shows a nighttime combat jump into a rock quarry and forest in the background. A U.S. Army Senior Combat Parachutist badge stands front and center.

“With this mural, when someone comes in the rigger shed, they know who we are and what this is,” Chambers said. “And it helps that a rigger did this.”

Sgt. 1st Class Narada Johnson and Spc. Blake Chambers, 101st Sustainment Brigade, look on at the 14 foot mural recently completed in the Rigger Shed at Bagram Air Field. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool)

Sgt. 1st Class Narada Johnson and Spc. Blake Chambers, 101st Sustainment Brigade, look on at the 14 foot mural recently completed in the Rigger Shed at Bagram Air Field. (Photo by Spc. Michael Vanpool)

Chambers and the riggers stayed in the shed after all the bundles were rigged to complete the projects. Aside from the massive mural, other signs and recreational activities have been added.

“When I first got back from R&R, I was working nights and painting,” Chambers said. “I felt bad for the guys working while I was gone, so I started working days and staying through the night shift too.”

Estimating around 30 hours to complete the mural, Chambers had to round up spare supplies from the back of the closet to paint with.

“That’s what made it hard. It was old latex paint, old paint brushes – not artist brushes – and it was on uneven plywood,” Chambers said. “Since it is 14 foot by 14 foot, I had to use a forklift to reach most of it.”

The paining is inescapable and overlooks the team of riggers bundling food, fuel and other supplies on the floor below.

“I knew everyone would be looking at it, it wasn’t just for me,” Chambers said. “I wanted people to have a good impression on us and the quality of work we do. Even though it’s not rigging, it still represents us and this shop.”

The riggers of the 11th QM Det. have added their touch to other parts of the shop as well. They wanted to brand the shed to represent their lineage as one of the oldest rigger companies in the Army, Craig said. The 11th QM traces its origins to the Airborne Quartermaster Companies created during World War II.

“We started new things, like putting our signature in the bundles and let them know we bundled it,” Craig said. “These guys are motivated because they know they’re helping the guys on the ground. Sometimes they’ll even throw in extra candy or drinks or Bibles to let them know we care.”

Even as the little extras are thrown in with other supplies, the riggers remain largely faceless to the countless soldiers in the remote forward operating bases that receive the bundles.

“There are always people behind the scenes,” Craig said. “But these guys don’t need the recognition. They get their satisfaction knowing they’re helping the guys on the ground who are having a rougher time than them.”


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