SOUTHWEST ASIA --
In a flash of a moment, ground forces find themselves in the throes of battle in less than desirable conditions. In the middle of nowhere, they fight to survive the armed conflict without the supplies they need.
To prevent scenarios like this from happening, the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron collaborate to sync their missions as they equip and prepare forces to stay in the fight another day.
“The professionalism of total-force Airmen is impressive,” said Maj. Kenneth Jensen, 386th EAMXS maintenance operations officer. “It’s amazing to watch members of many Air National Guard units, the active duty, Reserve and contractors come together to seamlessly achieve the mission every day.”
This rotation the Alaska and Ohio Air National Guard have been filling the task for the 737th EAS. This could possibly be Alaska’s last C-130 deployment as they transition to the C-17 Globemasters. It is also Ohio’s first deployment back with the C-130H after transitioning to the C-27J Spartan for a short stint.
“They have represented their states and the Air National Guard wonderfully. It is difficult for guard members to leave their full-time civilian jobs to deploy, but they always do their duty with no complaints,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cummings, 737th EAS commander. “Their dedication to the mission, their professionalism and their sacrifice has made me extremely proud.”
As Airmen cope with separation from loved ones, they're also facing with temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I’m most proud of our team for enduring the challenges that come with operating in a deployed location,” Jensen said.
Maintainers overcome these challenges to ensure aircrews have mission capable aircraft. Whether it’s an all-weather airdrop that has an accuracy of 15 yards within target from an altitude of 18,000 feet, a tactical assault landing on unimproved fields or an endurance of enemy fire to get the equipment and supplies to ground forces, these two units work together to get the mission accomplished.
Cummings said they would see severe degradation to the mission of defeating Daesh without C-130H operations, maintenance and support personnel.
Support from the 737th AES and 386th AMXS will continue to play a part in delivering airpower and securing freedoms. Today that means supporting ground forces in the fight to protect those living under the constant threat from the Islamic State of Iraq, Syria and whatever tomorrow brings.