Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: 'Afghanistan' (22) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 22

July 24, 2013 at 4:12pm

10th Airlift Squadron to deploy for overseas contingency

This just in from the 62nd AW Public Affairs Office:

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 10th Airlift Squadron is scheduled to deploy July 28 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

More than 70 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 10th AS will depart for a 60-day deployment to the Middle East. They will be accompanied by Airmen from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

Read more...

April 6, 2012 at 1:46pm

Seasoned Medical Service Corps officer continues to learn on latest deployment

Members of the 651st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Critical Care Air Transport Team work together to load patients onto a C-130H Hercules for an aeromedical evacuation at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Even with a diverse skill set and years of training and experience, Maj. Peter Jorgensen proves there's always something new to learn.

The 28-year medical professional has held many positions throughout a lucrative career, beginning as an enlisted logistician on active duty, up to his current responsibilities as a Medical Services Corps officer with the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron here.

Now, the Reservist serves in Afghanistan with the critical role as director of operations for the 651st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in Kandahar, overseeing the daily duties of more than 100 people, who support around-the-clock aeromedical evacuations for more than 100,000 NATO troops.

"Major Jorgensen is a dedicated Medical Service Corps officer with a wealth of experience, from his time serving with the (446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron here) and now with the 446th AES," said Col. Janette Moore-Harbert, 446th AES commander. "This experience has allowed him to help facilitate the depth of the patient movement process from the staging facility into the operational and flying element of the AE system. He not only brings that to this current deployment but also to the 446th AES, allowing us to be better patient providers by understanding our partners roles and responsibilities in the ASTS, in order to ensure a seamless and smooth patient movement system." 

With Jorgensen being an air Reserve technician, a full-time Reservist who helps maintain the continuity and combat readiness of the traditional Reservists, thanks Moore-Harbert, not only for contributing to his growth as a 446th AES Reservist, but for allowing him to serve overseas.

"I owe a great deal of thanks to my commander, for allowing me to deploy and grow as a military member," said Jorgensen, a Lakewood resident. "Being an air Reserve technician, it was no small sacrifice for her and the rest of the unit when I volunteered for the deployment." 

Jorgensen easily applies his homestation training to his deployed function.

"This mission is a lot like the way we train in the 446th AES during our exercises and local missions during the month and UTA weekends," said Jorgensen. 

Although he's learning a lot in his current assignment, it isn't his first rodeo. In fact, most of his deployments as an officer with the 446th ASTS are directly tied to his mission with the 446th AES.

"This is my third deployment and I feel right at home here from the fact that I started as a Medical Service Corps officer attached to the 446th ASTS," said Jorgensen. "During my eight years with the ASTS, I had the opportunity to deploy to Balad Air Base (Iraq) in 2006. I was functioning both in the (Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility) as an administrator and as a launch and recovery officer for more than 100 missions. Little did I know at the time, the launch and recovery along with crew management was exactly what we train for in the (446th AES). I can honestly say that my wartime success can be directly contributed to my countless 446th Airlift Wing training opportunities over the years." 

But wealth of experience isn't the only factor which has made Jorgensen's deployment a success. He says bringing out the best in his troops, so they can perform is critical.

"Relationships with your people are key to your success as a leader, and they need to be maintained in order to bring out the best in them- even if it's not their best day," he said. "As an officer, I've become better and more knowledgeable at reading the signs as whether someone is having a good or bad day." 

Even as his deployment comes to a close, Jorgensen still has his eyes on the reason he's there.

"There are a lot of people making huge sacrifices both here and at home for us to be successful," said Jorgensen. "It's been a huge learning experience and one that I look forward to bringing back to my unit and the wing." 

Moore-Harbert stresses her pride in having Reservists, like Jorgensen representing the 446th AES.

"I am very proud of him and his ability to excel and represent the 446th AES anytime and anywhere," she said.    

September 9, 2011 at 9:27am

Performance lands Airman on "The Voice"

From Air Force Times:  What started as a half-hour jam session for airmen working the night shift in Afghanistan has landed a staff sergeant an audition for the reality show "The Voice."

Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson has YouTube to thank for all the attention.

Johnson is part of Air Forces Central Command's band Sidewinder. The band performed a quick acoustic set - without microphones or sound equipment - for 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron airmen Aug. 8.

The next day, fans posted a video of Johnson belting out Adele's hit "Rolling in the Deep." By Aug. 18, the video had logged 900,000 views.

It quickly garnered attention from cable and network news. Talk show host Carson Daly called on Twitter for Johnson to audition for NBC's "The Voice," a singing competition Daly hosts and featuring celebrity judges.

Watch the video here

September 1, 2011 at 12:18pm

KIRO flies with 446th AW crew into Afghanistan

KIRO-TV hitched a ride with a 446th Airlift Wing crew of Reservists for a mission into Afghanistan. 

They split the trip into four parts, all of which are airing on Channel 7 this week. 

You can watch a couple of the stories that have already aired here

August 10, 2011 at 3:34pm

Airstrike kills Taliban members who caused U.S. helicopter crash

This from Air Force Times: An airstrike involving American fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft killed the Taliban leader responsible for the ambush that killed 38 U.S. and Afghan forces over the weekend, according to the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The Tuesday airstrike killed Mullah Mohibullah and another insurgent who fired the shot that brought down a CH-47 Chinook on Aug. 6, killing the 30 U.S. troops aboard.

Military officials announced the airstrike Wednesday morning. Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters about the mission during a video conference at the Pentagon.

Air Force F-16s and an AC-130H, as well as Army AH-64 Apache helicopters conducted the operation, a spokesman for NATO troops in Afghanistan told Air Force Times.

The F-16s dropped GBU-38 and GBU-54 bombs, and the Spectre fired its 105mm and 40mm cannons. The Apaches attacked insurgents with 30mm cannons.

To read the complete story, click here.

May 13, 2011 at 12:27pm

Airdrop levels in deployed areas reach 25 million pounds

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- In 2010, an additional 30,000 U.S. forces poured into Afghanistan as part of a "surge" to further stabilize the area. As a result, statistics show, that level of forces may also be the leading reason why airdrop levels in 2011 are averaging around 6.25 million pounds dropped a month.

Through the first four months of 2011, statistics tracked by the Air Forces Central's Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia show there were more than 25 million pounds of cargo airdropped for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. That figure nearly matches all the airdrop totals from 2006 to 2008 in the same region.

The current annual record for airdrops is 60.4 million pounds dropped from 2010. Records aside, mobility Airmen are focused on meeting the needs of the warfighters on the ground.

"We're flying round-the-clock missions, mostly air-land and to and from lots of little austere Army air fields throughout the country," said Capt. Andrew Thomas, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules pilot at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in a January 2011 AFCENT news report by combat correspondent Tech. Sgt. Stacia Zachary. "We're also doing airdrops here (at a rate) of about one to two drops per day."

The C-130 Hercules isn't the only Air Mobility Command-style airframe supporting deployed airdrop operations. The C-17 Globemaster III is also a part of the effort. In deployed locations, C-130s and C-17s are a part of expeditionary airlift squadrons at numerous bases throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Both airframes use a variety of ways to deliver the airdrop cargo. For example, since March 2010, C-130s perform "low-cost, low altitude," or LCLA, airdrops where they airdrop bundles weighing 80 to 500 pounds with pre-packed expendable parachutes in groups of up to four bundles per pass. The drops, reports show, are termed "low-cost" to reflect the relative expense of the expendable parachutes. "Low-altitude" describes to the relative height from which bundles are released from the aircraft.

There's also the Joint Precision Airdrop System, or JPADS, that guides airdrop bundles to their drop zones using the Global Positioning System technology, and the Improved Container Delivery System, or ICDS, that allows for improved precision by factoring in the altitude, wind speed, wind direction, terrain and other circumstances that might affect the drop.

Also, for example, a C-17 Globemaster III can carry up to 40 CDS bundles for a combat airdrop mission. Each of those bundles are often built by U.S. Army parachute riggers who jointly work with the Air Force airlift community to get them delivered to ground troops in remote regions of Afghanistan.

If statistics continue at the current average of 6.25 million pounds per month, 2011 will be a new record year with more than 75 million pounds airdropped.    

March 25, 2011 at 9:24am

Guard's 116th Air Support Operations Squadron set to deploy

CAMP MURRAY - The Washington National Guard will bid farewell to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron in a ceremony on Saturday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m. in Building #92 on Camp Murray.

The unit will serve in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and will be
based in Afghanistan.  Approximately 20 Washington Air National Guard
members will comprise the deploying force of the 116th.

"We are extremely proud of the 116th.  They are well trained, experienced
and ready to accomplish any mission they are given," said Major General
Timothy J. Lowenberg, the Adjutant General and commander of the Washington
National Guard.

The 116th is headquartered at Camp Murray and is part of the Washington Air
National Guard's 194th Regional Support Wing.  The citizen-airmen of the
116th are Tactical Air Control Party members; often considered the furthest
extension of Air Force influence on the Army's battlefield.  TACP airmen
deploy into combat with Special Operations teams and serve as close air
support experts, advising ground commanders on the use of Air Force assets
in combat.  They serve as forward air controllers, winning battles by
guiding weapons onto target.

Pre-deployment training for the 116th began last fall and included events at
Fort Irwin, California and Fort Stewart, Georgia.  The deployment is
scheduled to last approximately four months.  Although individual members of
the unit have deployed previously, this is the first deployment in the
squadron's history of this size.     

January 20, 2011 at 9:12am

Afghanistan airdrop levels set record in 2010

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Mobility Airmen supporting operations in Afghanistan airdropped 60.4 million pounds of cargo airdropped throughout the country, setting a record.

In all, the 60.4 million pounds is nearly twice the previous record year of 2009, where just over 32.2 million pounds of cargo was airdropped, Air Forces Central statistics show.

Experts attribute the increase to the surge of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan between December 2009 and August 2010. In those nine months, AFCENT stats confirmed more than 40 million pounds of cargo were airdropped. 

Throughout Afghanistan, the mountainous areas, remote operating locations and limited infrastructure have made the need for airdrops a necessity. That necessity has grown with more troops on the ground. According to a Jan. 12 Department of Defense news report, "numbers of U.S. troops and civilians, allied trainers and combat forces, Afghan army and police trainees all increased" in Afghanistan by more than 100,000 in 2010, compared to previous years. 

Since 2006, the annual amount of airdrops has nearly doubled each year. According to the AFCENT statistics released Jan. 19, the amount of airdrop poundage in Afghanistan over the past five years are 3.5 million in 2006, 8.12 million in 2007, 16.57 million in 2008, 32.26 million in 2009 and 60.4 million in 2010.

"These airdrops are critical to sustaining ground forces at austere locations where other means of re supply aren't feasible," said Col. David Almand, who served as director of the Combined Air and Space Operations Center's Air Mobility Division in 2010. "This continued sustainment of our warfighting forces is key to counter insurgency operations, which require persistent presence and logistics." 

The mobility Airmen assigned to support those airdrops missions have said they are proud to be able to directly support those "boots on the ground" with the supplies they need, no matter where in Afghanistan they are operating.

"It's very humbling to have such an impact on the war effort," said Staff Sgt. T.J. Grover, a C-130J loadmaster deployed with the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. "Especially when you hear about people on the ground who have close to nothing, and we make their day if we even fly in something that's bare-minimum, but it's still a step above what they had. These guys at forward operating bases aren't getting stuff because they want it; they get it because they need it."    

January 19, 2011 at 4:02pm

Purple Hearts for 2 airmen injured in war zone

This from Air Force Times: A security forces officer and a joint terminal attack controller injured in Afghanistan each received the Purple Heart on Wednesday from the Air Force's top officer.

More than 300 airmen looked on as Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented the honor to Capt. Gil Wyche and Senior Airman Brandon Cullen Towle during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Wyche, a security forces officer assigned to the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron, received shrapnel wounds during an insurgent attack on his base in Jalalabad in mid-November. Fighters using small arms and grenades rushed the perimeter of Forward Operating Base Fenty. Despite the wounds, Wyche and his team repelled the attack.

"We knew where we were going and we knew it was a hotbed," Wyche, deployed from RAF Lakenheath, England, said in a news release. "But, nothing can prepare you until the bullets actually start flying, grenades start getting thrown on top of you, and you start firing back. My guys responded very well."

Towle, a JTAC assigned to the 817th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, was working out at the gym at FOB Connolly in Nangarhar province in early January when an indirect-fire round exploded near him. Shrapnel pierced his upper thigh. He ran to cover in a bunker, where medics treated the wounds.

Towle then began calling in airstrikes that helped end the assault.

"This wasn't the first time these guys attacked us," said Towle, who is in the fifth month of his six-month deployment from Pope Air Force Base, N.C. "I just wanted to eliminate the threat once and for all."

January 6, 2011 at 3:55pm

4th Airlift Squadron returns home

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from the 4th Airlift Squadron returned Thursday after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job. I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000 passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

More on this story in the Jan. 13 edition of The Northwest Airlifter.

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