(e.g. yourname@email.com)

Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook

    Desert Storm: A look at Robins’ wartime contributions 25 years ago & today



    Story by Jenny Gordon 

    78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

    ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. - From 1990 to 1991 during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Robins Air Force Base became heavily involved in the fight from the very early stages, deploying critical air logistics, surge production and mobilization.

    During that time, the Air Force performed the most rapid airlift operations in history, with nearly 473,000 people and 465,000 tons of cargo sent to the Persian Gulf in an eight month period.

    The move was in response to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990. Operation Desert Shield was initiated days later to deter and contain attacks against neighboring countries, and became the largest deployment of military units and aircraft since the Vietnam War.

    After attempts to enforce prior United Nations resolutions for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, the U.S.-led coalition of aircraft began on Jan. 16, 1991, and became known as Operation Desert Storm. More than 60,000 total force airmen were deployed in support of forward operations, with over 69,000 sorties flown by 30 different weapons systems.

    Maj. Gen. Richard F. Gillis, then-Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander, stressed to the workforce of 15,000 civilians and 5,000-plus military members here at the time, that each would have an important role to play in order to ensure the mission's success.

    "These aircraft are heavily tasked, and we are making a concerted effort to accelerate the completion of programmed depot maintenance of all C-141s and certain C-130s so the operational commands can use the assets," he said. "We are also accelerating the repair of critical parts for other weapon systems we have repair responsibility for, to make sure our forces have everything we can give them."

    Units from across Robins supported operations, including those in maintenance, material management, distribution and contracting and manufacturing. For example, maintenance surges occurred to speed up the repair of aircraft components; contracting and manufacturing accelerated repair modification and manufacturing operations; and the Distribution Directorate accelerated items and supplies for shipment.

    In the first few weeks of Desert Shield in August 1990, nearly 700 military members from Robins deployed, with more than 1,157 tons of cargo and equipment moved to Southwest Asia; along with more than 2,000 spare aircraft parts that were surged as part of the effort.

    Among the units that were deployed were the 5th Combat Communications Group, which deployed on a regular basis in support of mobile and transportable communications, and air traffic control services. According to the 5th CCG, there is a message documented among their archives from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded coalition forces during the Gulf War, that was quickly disseminated across the squadrons at the time.

    It read in part, "Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of United States Central Command. This morning at 0300 we launched Operation Desert Storm, an offensive campaign that will enforce United Nations resolutions that Iraq must cease its rape and pillage of its weaker neighbor and withdraw its forces from Kuwait. The President, the Congress, the American people and indeed the world stand united in their support for your actions. You are a member of the most powerful force our country, in coalition with our allies, have ever assembled in a single theater to face such an aggressor."

    "You have trained hard for this battle and you are read. During my visits with you, I have seen in your eyes a fire of determination to get his job done and done quickly so that we all may return to the shores of our great nation. My confidence in you is total. Our cause is just! Now you must be the thunder and lightning of Desert Storm."

    Also deploying was the 2955th Combat Logistics Support Squadron, whose members repaired battle-damaged aircraft; the 4400th Mobility Support Flight, responsible for providing bare base equipment for units that deploy (examples include tents, runway lights, utilities and kitchens); and various units from the 2853rd Air Base Group.

    Also playing a key role was the 19th Air Refueling Wing - whose pilots flew KC-135s in support of aerial refueling for strategic bombers, strategic airlift, tactical fighters and air defense and special mission aircraft. Its tanker crews completed 200 refueling missions in support of the military's buildup at the time.

    As U.S. military forces engaged, it was an opportunity to utilize new weapons, including stealth aircraft, global positioning devices and precision guided technologies.

    Hundreds of sorties were flown every day in support of operations, from an arsenal of 30 aircraft that included the A-10, B-52, C-12, F-117A, F-15s, F-16s, KC-135s and E-3s, as well as two aircraft which were maintained at the WR-ALC - the C-130 and C-141.

    Early in Desert Shield, at Robins, aircraft, personnel and equipment were accelerated and schedules were compressed in order to support and meet operational requirements overseas.

    According to the Robins History Office, "personnel at the WR-ALC operated the key logistics support base for U.S. Air Forces in the Middle East."

    By the end of Operation Desert Storm, according to the history office, the WR-ALC had mobilized over 3,300 tons of cargo and 658 passengers. During Persian Gulf operations, "there were over 3,500 various aircraft stopped at Robins AFB."

    Between Aug. 8 and Sept. 30, 1990 - a critical time period of deployment forces and logistical assets - the WR-ALC produced 16 C-141s, four F-15s and one AC-130.

    Additional examples included paint jobs on C-141s were delayed so maintenance could be accelerated and the aircraft could transport troops and equipment to the fight. The vehicle division at Robins managed the shipment of all vehicles needed for the Air Force during Desert Shield, as vehicles were critical to support ground operations. This included the need for forklifts, fuel trucks and fire trucks to protect aircraft at bases overseas.

    Foreign military sales activities also increased, of which the WR-ALC managed two key parts of arms sales that supported electronic warfare components.

    Following six weeks of air attacks, it was announced on Feb. 28, 1991, by President George H. Bush, that Kuwait had been liberated. The mission was accomplished with the role Robins played with logistics support, a surge in production of critical aircraft parts and aircraft PDM, and mobility.

    Overall at Robins, there was the acceleration of 35 C-141 aircraft, seven C-130s and three F-15s; over 35,000 units of exchangeables surged by avionics, electronic warfare and technology and industrial support directorates; more than 82,000 requisitions processed by base item managers; 6,200 tons of cargo shipped; with more than 1,500 troops deployed.

    Fast forward to today's successes

    Just as Team Robins played a crucial role in helping ensure success during Operation Desert Storm, here are some examples of 2015 successes which helped ensure Air Force success worldwide.

    -The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex closed out a productive year, producing 217 aircraft - C-5, C-17, C-130 and F-15 - in fiscal 2015. The 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group's commodity lines produced 34,772 units; the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group produced 84,600 units; the 402nd Software Maintenance Group completed 326 projects; and the 402nd Maintenance Support Group conducted 19,975 preventive maintenance actions, driving $47 million in improvements.

    -An extensive crack was discovered during routine nondestructive inspections of an F-15 wing spar, the critical component that attaches to the aircraft. Once defects like that are found, machinists in the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group work diligently to remove the cracks. It's crucial these are repaired safely as aircraft pilots utilize the aircraft across missions worldwide.

    -The 116th and 461st Air Control wings partnered to enhance joint-service training in a contested environment. The Navy's composite training unit exercise tested the E-8C's crew's ability to respond to a variety of threats using JSTARS long-range radar capabilities.

    -A C-5M Super Galaxy at Robins performed a landing gear skid check and first flight of a functional check flight profile on the same day - major tasks that had not been done on the same day in more than eight years.

    -The 567th Electronics Maintenance Squadron repairs and tests several types of receivers responsible for communicating with global positioning systems. These receivers are used on various weapon systems supported by the Air Force and Navy. The year prior nearly 500 units came through the shop.

    -The final C-17 Globemaster III was modified with a large aircraft infrared countermeasures system, or LAIRCM, bringing the total to 76 C-17s that were outfitted with the missile threat detection system. While the workload has ended, the workload continues now with the program transitioning with installation of LAIRCM on Navy C-130Js.

    -The 559th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron completed fiscal 2015 with a 100 percent on time due date performance record for the fourth consecutive year. Sustainment is even more critical now, as the aircraft has been flying global missions for over 40 years. Every time the aircraft is returned on time to its customer, that's another C-5 that can transport troops and much-needed equipment and material downrange.

    -In early December, the 500th C-17 Globemaster III to undergo programmed depot maintenance at Robins was sold, returning home to Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The number represented aircraft that have either visited the depot for maintenance or modification work through the years, and is a significant milestone for the complex. This workload continues to also represent the continued workload of heavy maintenance, repairs, overhaul work and inspections.

    -A C-130 Air Force Special Operations Command Acceleration Plan to surge aircraft undergoing programmed depot maintenance here will have a significant impact not only in the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, but in other maintenance squadrons across the complex. An AC-130U gunship is in the final stages of PDM and is set to be completed this month. Their mission is so critical overseas that turnaround times for aircraft like these have the potential to change the way traditional PDM is currently performed.



    Date Taken: 01.15.2016
    Date Posted: 01.15.2016 12:43
    Story ID: 186388

    Web Views: 70
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0


    Desert Storm: A look at Robins’ wartime contributions 25 years ago & today