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7th AS Airmen deploy to Middle East

Squadron takes over for returning 4th AS

Photo by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell

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(62nd AW PA) - The 7th Airlift Squadron deployed Sept. 26 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Odyssey Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

More than 65 Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 7th AS departed for a 60-day deployment to the Middle East. They are accompanied by Airmen from the 446th AW and others 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.

"It is an honor for the 7th Airlift Squadron to be asked once more to forward deploy to support and sustain OEF forces," said Lt. Col. William Mickley, 817th EAS commander. "As in the past we are fortunate to have aircrew members from various other squadrons across the C-17 community joining our team for this deployment. Their participation is a great benefit to both the 7th and their parent unit.

"Providing agile combat airlift to the joint and coalition warfighter is more vital today than ever. It makes my heart swell to see how enthusiastic this group of Airmen is to move out and contribute to meeting today's challenges head-on. I'm extremely proud to be a part of this great team, and even more so, humbled to be leading them."

The unit will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions concentrated in and around Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. They are replacing the 4th Airlift Squadron, which returned Monday.

"The members of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron once again knocked it out of the park. I am very proud of all the hard work these Airmen accomplished," said Lt. Col. Jason Ginn, 817th EAS commander. "The efforts of the 4th and their sister squadrons of the 62nd Operations Group combined with our total force brethren of the 446th here at McChord and active-duty, Guard and Reserve partners out of Elmendorf and Hickam ensured this was a successful deployment,"

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 670 sorties, equaling more than 1,670 hours, moved more than 45,500 passengers and delivered more than 24.2 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in and out of the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, they completed 282 missions with a 96 percent mission effectiveness rate.

"The herculean actions of our Airmen resulted in over 282 combat missions and resulted in the movement of over 24.2 million pounds of cargo and 45,505 passengers in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the presidential-directed redeployment of surge troops from Afghanistan," Ginn said. "This was a great command experience for me and I hope I have the privilege of commanding these fine Airmen in the future."

The 62nd AW's four active-duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and rotate operating the 817th EAS continuously. The deployments allow Air Mobility Command to consistently position assets closer to the areas of responsibility.

As the 817th EAS, the squadron's mission is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief, to create an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies throughout the assigned areas of responsibility.

Photo: Capt. Scott Johnson, 4th Airlift Squadron member, visits with his children at the McChord Field flightline Monday after returning from a deployment. More than 80 Servicemembers from the 4th AS, along with 446th AW and the Guard and Reserve out of Elmendorf and Hickam participated in the 68-day deployment.

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