News>AF airlift support to Mali hits 2 million-pound mark
An Airman looks on as a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft taxis onto a loading ramp Jan. 22, 2013, in Istres, France. The Airman is assigned to the 621st Contingency Response Wing. The U.S. pledged support to the French military for their operations in Mali, and provided C-17s and Airmen for logistical support. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
French soldiers assist aircrew from the 4th Airlift Squadron, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., unload French military cargo after their transportation flight on Jan. 25, 2013 from Base Aerienne 125, Istres, France to Mali. Flight included transportation of military vehicles, equipment, and personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brandi Hansen)
French soldiers assist aircrew from the 4th Airlift Squadron, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis - McChord, Wash., unload French military cargo after their transportation flight on Jan. 25, 2013 from Base Aerienne 125, Istres, France to Mali. Flight included transportation of military vehicles, equipment, and personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brandi Hansen)
by 1st Lt. Sara Harper
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/15/2013 - ISTRES, France (AFNS) -- The Air Force reached a major milestone Feb. 12 when the service hit the 2 million pounds of cargo transported mark during airlift operations from Istres, France to Bamako, Mali and other partner nations in support of French military operations in Northern Africa.
At the request of the French government, airlift operations began on Jan. 21 and the Air Force has flown 43 missions under the control of U.S. Africa Command. The U.S. is committed to supporting France and international partners to confront Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, an Islamist militant organization, as well as affiliated extremists in Northern Africa.
Delivering 2 million pounds of cargo in just 23 days is quite an achievement.
"This operation has been extremely rewarding, supporting our French partner's efforts to promote stability in Mali," said Lt. Col. Shawn Underwood, 621st Contingency Response Element commander. "Working through the challenges of unfamiliar equipment and different languages made crossing the 2 million pound threshold that much more satisfying, but we know there is more work to do."
After weeks of continuous airlift operations, French and U.S. military personnel have been working closely together every day to prepare and load cargo and personnel into C-17s.
"We have been enabling the movement of French forces in support of their operations. There have been some difficulties because of the different equipment, certificates and procedures," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Felix, an aerial transporter assigned to the 818th Global Mobility Squadron. "We are working through these and getting the job done."
C-17 Globemasters from the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and the 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Del., staging from Istres, have also transported 830 French military personnel to Mali.
2/22/2013 1:28:06 PM ET Outside of taking from the funds of American largess what has France ever done for this country except to block our attempts at every opportunity Why are we still supporting a nation who wouldnt even stand up for itself
SNCO Ret, Scott
2/20/2013 8:08:03 AM ET Airlift support tanker support because France and European allies lack sufficient airlift and tanker resources to fly across the Med all provided gratis by the American taxpayer. Yet many of the people sitting around me may get furlough notices next week. Way to take care of our own.
DMPI, Five-Sided Fantasy Land
2/19/2013 6:59:52 AM ET Lets not just remember the French left us holding the bag in Vietnam but also made our aircrews go the long way around their country when we hit Libya in 1986....we still remember all that so all you youngins just need to ask us retirees and Vets...we know and are willing to share our history as you all make your own history. Never do something your MaMa would be ashamed of.
SNCO Ret, SW Ohio
2/15/2013 1:31:19 PM ET Didn't the US involvement in Viet Nam start off with assisting the French in controlling an insurgency Just Sayin