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Two missions, one fight

U.S. Air Force pilots from the Alaska Air National Guard's 144th Airlift Squadron prepare to take off in a C-130 Hercules at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, June 17, 2016. The transport mission was one of the last combat missions during the 144th AS's final C-130 deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

Pilots from the Alaska Air National Guard's 144th Airlift Squadron prepare to take off in a C-130 Hercules at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, June 17, 2016. The transport mission was one of the last combat missions during the 144th AS's final C-130 deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis)

A U.S. Air Force loadmaster from the Alaska Air National Guard's 144th Airlift Squadron prepares to offload cargo from a C-130 Hercules after landing in Iraq June 17, 2016. The transport mission was one of the last combat missions during the 144th AS's final C-130 deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis/Released)

A loadmaster from the Alaska Air National Guard's 144th Airlift Squadron prepares to offload cargo from a C-130 Hercules after landing in Iraq June 17, 2016. The transport mission was one of the last combat missions during the 144th AS's final C-130 deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Douglas Ellis)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- The 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have two different missions, yet work together every day to ensure the single mission of the C-130 Hercules can equip and prepare our forces to stay in the fight another day.

“The professionalism of total force Airmen,” said Maj. Kenneth Jensen, 386th EAMXS maintenance operations officer. “It’s amazing to watch members of many Air National Guard units, the active duty, Reserve and contractors come together to seamlessly achieve the mission every day.”

This rotation, the Alaska and Ohio Air National Guard have been filling the task for the 737th EAS. This could possibly be Alaska ANG’s last C-130 deployment as they transition to the C-17 Globemaster III, while this is Ohio’s first deployment back with the C-130H after transitioning to the C-27J Spartan for a short stint.

“They have represented their states and the Air National Guard wonderfully. It is difficult for guard members to leave their full-time civilian jobs to deploy, but they always do their duty with no complaints,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cummings, the 737th EAS commander. “Their dedication to the mission, their professionalism and their sacrifice has made me extremely proud of these people.”

Members of the 737th EAS and 386th EAMXS are faced with challenges such as older aircraft, extreme environmental conditions with temperatures reaching up to 140 degrees, and being separated from their loved ones.

“I’m most proud of our team for enduring the challenges that come with operating in a deployed location,” Jensen said.

The maintenance crews overcome these challenges to make sure the aircrews have safe and working aircraft to carry out the air tasking orders. Whether it’s an all-weather airdrop that has an accuracy of 15 yards within target from an altitude of 18,000 feet, a tactical assault landing on unimproved fields or an endurance of enemy fire to get the equipment and supplies to ground forces, these two units work together to get the mission accomplished.

Cummings said they would see severe degradation to the mission of defeating Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists without C-130H operations, maintenance and support personnel.

Support from the 737th EAS and 386tg AMXS has and will continue to play a crucial part in delivering decisive airpower and securing basic freedoms.

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