Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Total-force Airmen simultaneously support worldwide operations

by Capt. Justin Brockhoff, Tanker Airlift Control Center Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) - Mobility Airmen are playing significant roles supporting the NATO no-fly zone over Libya, as well as humanitarian relief efforts in Japan, all while continuing to support U.S. operations around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since the March 11 natural disasters in Japan, AMC-controlled C-17 Globemaster IIIs have flown 42 sorties, moving 184 passengers and nearly 272 tons of cargo ranging from search-and-rescue teams to generators that are being used to restore power to areas devastated by the disaster, officials said.

These efforts are in support of Operation Tomodachi. AMC's contribution supports the airlift portion of the efforts, led by Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

KC-10 Extenders from the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB, Calif., have also flown four missions supporting relief efforts by providing more than 409,000 pounds of fuel via in-air refueling to the C-17s over the Pacific Ocean, PACAF officials said. Without the KC-10s, the C-17s would need to land and refuel on the ground, adding two to three hours onto each mission, according to AMC officials.

In addition to the AMC-controlled forces supporting relief efforts in Japan, mobility Airmen are simultaneously playing a major role in operations to support the no-fly zone over Libya, as part of international efforts to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, according to officials. U.S. military participation in the effort, known as Operation Odyssey Dawn, is being led by U.S. Africa Command with AMC-controlled aircraft providing a combination of airlift and air refueling capabilities to support the overall efforts.

Since the security council resolution passed March 17, AMC-controlled C-17s, C-5 Galaxies, C-130 Hercules, and commercial partner aircraft have flown nearly 150 sorties delivering more than 1,000 service members and 2,500 tons of cargo to bases throughout Europe, where U.S. forces are staged, PACAF officials said.

On top of the airlift operations, AMC, ANG, and AFRC KC-10s and KC-135 Stratotankers have flown more than 350 sorties offloading more than 4.5 million pounds of fuel to fighters and bombers supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn, including B-2 Spirits that flew non-stop missions from the U.S. to Libya and back. The total amount of fuel off-loaded by the tankers would fill a mid-sized sport utility vehicle 37,000 times.

Mission planning and command-and-control for the AMC contributions to both the humanitarian-relief efforts in Japan and Operation Odyssey Dawn are being carried out by Airmen at the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott AFB, Ill. As AMC's hub for global operations, the TACC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft in support of strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world, officials said.

In addition to supporting the operations, mobility Airmen and the TACC continue to support missions responsible for the deployment, re-deployment and sustainment of U.S. and coalition personnel for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the officials added.