War on Terrorism

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

317th AG deploys in support of AFRICOM

by Airman 1st Class Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

8/20/2013 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- 317th Airlift Group C-130Js, aircrews and maintainers departed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 10, in support of U.S. Africa Command at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

More than 20 Airmen from the 39th Airlift Squadron will integrate with units from the 37th Airlift Squadron of Ramstein, to stand in alert postures and prepare for any taskings AFRICOM might have.

"While we are there, we will provide standby services to support AFRICOM in building defense capabilities, responding to crisis, and deterring and defeating foreign threats for the betterment of the United States," said Lt. Col. Michael Brock, 39th Airlift Squadron commander. "We are bringing all of our capabilities with us; airland, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation. Whatever they need us to do, we will be ready."

This is the first time in two years that the 317th AG has supported AFRICOM. Most recently, in early 2011, the group provided one of their first C-130Js in support of operations in North Africa.

Leadership at the airlift squadron views the deployment as a learning opportunity they wouldn't have available to them at other deployed locations.

"Most of our deployments are to Southwest Asia, so we haven't had much experience in Africa or Europe as a unit," Brock said. "We are going to learn in a new environment. We can come back, digest what we've learned and apply it in the future, so we can be more prepared for missions when we are called upon."

The 39th AS had already begun expanding training skills in preparation for a separate overseas tour when they received notice of this deployment. They have focused training missions on enhancing competency in flying single and multiple aircraft formations with numerous mission capabilities.

"We have been preparing for months now and we've innovated the way we train," Brock said. "This deployment is going to be different from what we are used to. We have to be prepared for anything and everything."

"For this deployment, we will focus more on mission planning and executing missions that are high priority," said Maj. Trevor Hall, 317th AG mission commander.

The mission may be different but the goal is still the same, Brock said.

"No matter where we deploy, we provide outstanding Airmen to aid in projecting global power by providing global reach for America."

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