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California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visits 302nd AEG

by Staff Sgt. Luke Johnson
302nd Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

7/8/2008 - SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AFPN) -- During a visit to the California National Guard fire fighting training at McClellan Airfield, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid a brief visit to the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group to wish Airmen a happy 4th of July and thank them for their service in assisting with California's wildfires.

The visit by the governor marks an historic event -- the entire U.S. Air Force modular airborne fire fighting system (MAFFS) C-130 Hercules fleet operating as one unit in more than 20 years.

During the governor's short visit, the 145th Air Expeditionary Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Tom Brown provided the governor a briefing on the capabilities of the MAFFS, and how the C-130s are used to fight California's wildfires. The governor also took time to shake hands and exchange words with Airmen from the 302nd AEG.

Prior to the governor departing the flightline, he remarked on how much he learned about the capabilities of the C-130 and 302nd AEG.

"[My job as governor] is the greatest job you can have because it's very educational. Every day you can go out and learn something new," Governor Schwarzenegger said.

The 302nd AEG is made up of eight Air Force MAFFS-capable C-130 aircraft operating out of McClellan Airfield, Calif., and Navy and Marine Corps helicopter units operating out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

The 302nd AEG aircraft units include two Air National Guard units -- the 153rd Airlift Wing from Cheyenne, Wyo., and the 145th Airlift Wing from Charlotte, N.C., -- and one Air Force Reserve unit -- the 302nd Airlift Wing from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

The 302nd AEG provides unique capabilities and is part of a unified military support effort of U.S. Northern Command to provide assistance to the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Protection (CAL FIRE), and the National Interagency Fire Center.

USNORTHCOM continues to closely monitor the California wildfires to anticipate additional requests for Department of Defense assistance to local, federal, and state civil authorities and will launch as many missions as officials battling the wildfires require.

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