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10th Airlift deploys

Pathfinders head overseas for deployment

Photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Jimenez

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Airmen from the 10th Airlift Squadron deployed July 28 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

More than 70 airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing's 10th AS "Pathfinders" departed 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.

"This is what I joined for, to contribute to the mission making a difference in nations overseas and to serve my country," said 1st Lt. Althea Johnston, 10th AS pilot. "Deploying is never easy, but it's a worthwhile sacrifice."

The unit will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions in and around Southwest Asia. They are replacing the 7th Airlift Squadron, which is scheduled to return in early August.

The mission of the 817th EAS 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.

"I am excited to answer the call to duty and make my country proud," said Airman 1st Class Brian Baker, 10th AS loadmaster. "I know my training has prepared me for this day and the days to come."

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 action.

Photo: Capt. Geraldo Garza, 10th Airlift Squadron pilot, enjoys a moment with his wife and son as he prepares to depart for a 60-day deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, July 28, 2013, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Garza, along with approximately 70 other airmen of the 10th AS will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Southwest Asia.

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