News: Handing over the Reins
Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The 179th Airlift Wing from Mansfield, Ohio, handed over the reins of the 702nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to 135th Airlift Group during a Transfer of Authority ceremony on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, April 27.
The 179th AW was the first American military unit to fly the C-27J aircraft during combat operations. The C-27J was used for various cargo airdrops and deliveries apart from moving Troops across the battlefield.
Since the Ohio Air National Guard began its mission in August 2011, the C-27J Spartan aircraft have completed more than 60 airdrops containing 270 container delivery systems filled with food, water, blood and ammunition, and transported more than 19,000 Troops in over 2,000 combat flight hours.
“The airmen and soldiers performed outstanding with the new aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Todd Thomas, 702nd EAS commander. “With deploying in a new airframe, come all new challenges. Our staff did a terrific job with integrating at the Division and Brigade level in scheduling the missions we flew.”
The 179th AW, who completed their mission across three rotations, has established a frequency and continuous mission schedule for the C-27J for the incoming unit to follow.
“The airmen and soldiers from the Ohio Air National Guard did a great job meeting the needs of the CAB commander,” said Lt. Col. Cory Lunt, now the 702 EAS commander. “We are stepping in after a well-oiled machine has led the way and we will continue the mission to meet the needs of the young guys on the forward operating bases who need our help.”
The incoming unit has conducted several rotations performing the same missions using the C-130J, but this will be their first time using the C-27J during a deployment.
“Our brothers we are replacing did a great job starting this unit from scratch and keeping it going for nine months,” said Lunt. “Our commitment to CAB commander is that we will finish strong.”