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Maintainers keep C-130s flying in Djibouti

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Greg Bluethmann
  • Det. 4, Air Force News Agency
Maintainers deployed to the 71st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti work long hours in the hot sun to make sure that HC-130P's are ready to go in a moment's notice for the search and rescue mission in the Horn of Africa.

"We provide the maintenance to keep the C-130's in the air, and we're on 24-hour alert, to answer the call," said Master Sgt. Patrick Melady, the HC-130P production supervisor. 

"Coming out here without knowing what you're doing would make it a little harder," said Senior Airman Michael Ruehrwein, an instrument and flight controls technician for the C-130.

The search and rescue operation is vital to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission.

Even though working in an austere environment, Sergeant Melady said he finds satisfaction in supporting the search and rescue mission. 

"The rewarding part is when they get a save and bring somebody back that's hurt and are able to get them medical help," Sergeant Melady said. "If you get one instance of that happening in a rotation, it makes it all worth while."

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa is a unit of United States Central Command. The organization's mission is to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism. More than 1,500 people from each branch of the U.S. military, civilian employees, coalition forces and partner nations make up the organization. 

The area of responsibility for CJTF-HOA includes the countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. 

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