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Convoy reduction flights keep Airmen out of harm's way

2/15/2007 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNEWS) -- Convoys transporting Airmen and supplies on the highways of Iraq face a constant risk from terrorist attacks. In an effort to reduce the number of convoys going out, the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron performs regular airlift convoy reduction missions out of Balad Air Base, Iraq.

The focus of the missions is simple -- reduce the number of convoy-related injuries by reducing the number the number of convoys.

The Balad AB aircrews fly cargo and Airmen to their destination in up to four convoy reduction missions a week on C-130 Hercules aircraft or C-17 Globemaster IIIs. These missions often take the aircraft into unsafe areas, requiring a special team of security forces Airmen known as Ravens to safeguard the planes. 

The reward outweighs the risk, said Maj. Ryan Guiberson, the operations officer for the 777th Expeditonary Airlift Squadron.

"It's real rewarding because we see the tangible results of it every day," Major Guiberson said. "Every pallet that crosses the ramp and every person who gets on the plane is one less group of people that has to be on the road."

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