News>Manas C-17 crew drops vital cargo in Afghanistan
Capt. Jennie Steldt (left), aircraft commander, leads a mission update brief with her crew after 43,000 pounds of food, water, and building supplies were loaded and rigged for a combat airdrop in Afghanistan Sept. 17. The 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Detachment 1 crew is deployed from McChord Air Force Base, Wash. Other members of the crew pictured here are Captains Pete Grossenbach and Warren Halle, pilots, and Senior Airmen Kevin Slagle and Jeremiah Thompson, loadmasters. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Airdrop Container Delivery System Bundles clear the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III during a combat airdrop over Afghanistan Sept. 17. Members of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Detachment 1, at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, completed the mission by hitting two separate drop zones with more than 43,000 pounds of food, water and building supplies for troops on the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo)
by Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
9/19/2006 - MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan (AFPN) -- The primary mission of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing is to provide air mobility support to servicemembers in Afghanistan fighting the war on terrorism. Detachment 1 of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron here enabled that mission with a combat airdrop Sept. 17.
The C-17 Globemaster III detachment crew flew to Bagram, Afghanistan, and uploaded 43,000 pounds of food, water and building supplies. Airdrop container delivery system bundles were prepared for two drop zones in southern Afghanistan.
"We had the communication challenges with the drop zone that come with flying in a combat environment, but still were able to deliver our load," said Senior Airman Kevin Slagle, C-17 loadmaster. "The cargo precisely hit both drop zones on time, and all the cargo was recoverable."
Capt. Jennie Steldt led the crew, which included her commander, Lt. Col. Brian Robinson, visiting from the 817th EAS at Incirlik AB, Turkey. Also aboard were Captains Pete Grossenbach, and Warren Halle, pilots, and Senior Airmen Slagle and Jeremiah Thompson, loadmasters, all deployed from the 10th Airlift Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash.
"This was a challenging mission but it was also a lot of fun," Captain Steldt said. "After the last cargo landed, the radio operator on the ground said, 'Nice doing business with you.'"
Members of the crew all felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
"We are in the business of saving coalition lives, and this mission was no exception for the crew of the C-17 and the amazing people who provide the ground support to these missions," Captain Halle said.
The EAS concept of operations has enabled the C-17s and crews to be used more in the aerial delivery role because planners can count on qualified crews being available, said Maj. Brad Hall, Det.1 commander. This puts the appropriate skills set in theater which improves mission effectiveness.
Under the old expeditionary airlift stage concept of operations, crews were transient and rotated in and out of theater approximately every 10 days.