Military


40th Air Expeditionary Wing

The mission of putting bombs on target almost 4,000 miles away in Afghanistan is comparable to flying from Chicago to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Success falls on the backs of bomber and aerial refueling aircraft that commute together from the tropics to Afghanistan.

As of early 2002 Col. Chris Patterson was the 40th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. Col. Patterson, 40th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presented a birthday cake to the oldest B-52 Stratofortress, tail number 60-0001, to kick off 50th anniversary of the B-52's first flight 15 April 2002. The B-52 first flew April 15, 1952. The 40th AEWs wing's B-52s dropped about 58 percent of the munitions used during Operation Anaconda and had flown more than 80 sorties; releasing more than 2,000 bombs supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

In peacetime, the 730th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron was a small air terminal detachment that serviced Air Mobility Command aircraft delivering cargo from time to time for various Air Force missions here at a deployed location. After Sept. 11, the unit swelled from eight to 80 people and processed cargo airlifted to support the 40th Air Expeditionary Wing's Operation Enduring Freedom bomber operations.

Hours after arriving from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Ammo troops were hard at work getting munitions ready for loading onto B-52 Stratofortresses of the 40th Air Expeditionary Wing. Several days later, Ammo's operations shifted into an even higher gear as they and dozens of other wing members and the port team from Kadena Air Base, Japan, began the task of unloading, transporting, unpacking and storing millions of pounds of munitions brought in by the Air Force prepositioning ship Cornhusker State. The five-day operation began March 15 at the harbor here where Air Force and Navy members began transferring more than 100 5,000-pound metal shipping containers onto flatbed trailers. With the Navy's security forces providing escort, about a dozen Air Force drivers hauled the containers down to the munitions breakout pads. There, the 10-person port team and Ammo troops began the tedious task of cracking the containers open and extracting the contents -- 750-pound M-117 bombs cradled in wooden crates. After being loaded on other flatbed trailers, some munitions were taken directly to the munitions buildup pad where stabilizer fins were attached. Many of those weapons were then taken out to the flightline to be loaded on B-52s which will use them to strike targets in Afghanistan. The unbuilt munitions were taken to the storage area.

The 40th Expeditionary Logistics Group's petroleum, oils and lubricants flight did in six months what most bases do not come close to in a year. They pumped a lot of gas -- more than 100 million gallons of fuel since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom through June 2002. The POL flight is responsible for receiving fuel from the Navy and transferring it into 2 million gallon tanks, accounting for all the fuel the wing receives and issues and sampling fuel for quality.

From the start of the operation the Republic of Korea Air Force worked along side the 40th Air Expeditionary Wing at a deployed location in the Pacific theater of operations. They continue to stand with the United States as friends and partners, ready to defend the world against terrorism and by June 2002 had flown more than 5,000 miles in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The ROKAF's 57th Air Lift Group began flying support missions in December and has played a vital role in the success of the operation. Since arriving in the theater, the group has flown 21 shuttle flights airlifting 150 personnel and nearly 200,000 pounds of supplies and cargo. In addition they had also flown five other missions to Southeast Asia and two medical evacuation missions. In a report to Congress in early April, the Pacific Command estimated the contribution made by the 57th ALG as more than $3.7 million.

60th Air Expeditionary Group

In early 2002 the 60th Air Expeditionary Group deployed an AN/MPN-25 Rapid Deployable Radar System, adding an additional precision and non-precision approach option for aircraft arriving, departing, or transiting the airspace around here that is under military air traffic control. The mobile radar system is one of three owned by the Air Mobility Command. It is designed to be deployed anywhere in the world where U.S. military radar and airfield services are required. The radar and its components can be carried aboard one C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. Its deployment was the first and so far only for the AN/MPN-25. Using the system, Air Force air traffic controllers can "see" all of the aircraft flying in the vicinity of the airfield and can determine the distance and direction of the aircraft as well as the relative position of each aircraft to one another. The radar also has the means to determine the exact location of an aircraft during the final phase of flight as it approaches the airfield to land. An air traffic controller can tell a pilot his distance from the end of the runway and how close he is vertically and horizontally to the glide path down to the runway.

462nd Air Expeditionary Group

America's war on terrorism shifted airframes in mid-July 2002 with the arrival of forward-deployed KC-135 Stratotankers. KC-135 crews from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.; McConnell AFB, Kan.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and March Air Reserve Base, Calif., replaced KC-10 Extender crews from Travis AFB, Calif. Like their predecessors, the replacement crews are a mix of Air Force reservists and active-duty people. The reservists are from March, McConnell and Tinker, while their active-duty counterparts are from Fairchild and McConnell. Col. Jim Moran, chief of standards and tactics for the 4th Air Force Operations Division at March and a reservist, oversees the KC-135 operation as commander of the 462nd Air Expeditionary Group.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list