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302nd AEG conducts 22nd day of California wild fire support

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Luke Johnson
  • 302nd Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
Aircraft and firefighters of the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group began their 22nd day of aerial firefighting support missions July 17 in a coordinated effort to control wildfires in California.

On July 16, the 302nd AEG military aviation assets performed a total of four air drops, delivering 5,600 gallons of fire retardant.  Modular airborne firefighting system-equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft completed four air drops on the Mill fire within the Soda Complex, located in the Mendocino National Forest approximately 15 miles northwest of Upper Lake, Calif.

The 302nd AEG aircrews have performed a total of 989 air drops and have delivered approximately 1,360,000 gallons of fire retardant and water since June 26.

The 302nd AEG comprises eight Air Force MAFFS-capable C-130 Hercules aircraft and six Marine Corps helicopters operating out of McClellan Airfield, and two Navy Reserve helicopters operating from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

The 302nd AEG C-130 aircraft units include three Air National Guard units -- the 145th Airlift Wing from Charlotte, N.C., the 146th Airlift Wing from Channel Islands ANGS, Calif., and the 153rd Airlift Wing from Cheyenne, Wyo., and one Air Force Reserve unit -- the 302nd Airlift Wing from Peterson AFB, Colo.

Three Marine helicopter units -- Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron 164 and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268, both based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465 based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego -- fly CH-46E Sea Knight and CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters equipped with specialized firefighting buckets.

United States Navy Reserve helicopters flying from NAS Lemoore are assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Support Squadron 85 based out of NAS North Island, Calif. The squadron is flying MH-60S helicopters with 420- and 360-gallon specialized firefighting buckets.

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, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 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 require to battle the wildfires.

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