SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Air National Guardsmen from the 120th and 182nd Airlift Wings departed for home this week following a four-month deployment at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
During their deployment, the Airmen were assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen where they successfully delivered cargo downrange at a record breaking pace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition mission aimed at defeating Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists.
Their missions while deployed was flying and maintaining multiple C-130H Hercules aircraft. Some of the records they broke included the most hours flown hours since October 2012 and most passengers moved in recorded history from their location. This was accomplished by a team of Citizen Airmen working tirelessly to complete the mission.
“The guys I have worked with here are outstanding,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Rudebeck, 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron pilot, deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing. “Their level of professionalism and dedication is second to none.”
In order to keep the C-130 mission fully functional and off the ground, knowledgeable maintenance Airmen worked day and night to identify and fix potential issues.
Airman 1st Class John Rayyan, 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Maintenance Unit aircraft environmental electrician, deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing, did his part to make sure the aircraft were working properly.
“Without the components the aircraft wouldn’t be able to fly, so if anything goes bad with those components, I am there to fix it,” said Rayyan.
This team also achieved their unit’s best mission completion rate since 2015. This was accomplished through close integration between the aircrew and the AMU. Pilots like Rudebeck recognized the importance of working alongside these maintainers.
“Those guys are spot on and always have a spare jet ready for us to go so we can still get the mission off on time,” said Rudebeck.
The flying missions often brought the aircraft to rough environments. This resulted in a need for constant upkeep of the C-130’s.
“These planes take a beating and there is always maintenance that goes along with it,” said Rudebeck. “The maintenance guys are challenged in ways they are not challenged at home station.”
The Guardsmen all expressed pride in the accomplishments they achieved and the records they broke through their hard work.
“One that sticks out the best is our hours flown,” said Tech. Sgt. Taylor Thoroughman, 386th EAMXS AMU crew chief, deployed from the 120th Airlift Wing. “Not only are we not breaking the aircraft, but when they do break we are getting them back fully mission capable within the allotted time they give us.”
These Airmen will go back home knowing they did their part in sending ammunition, food, personnel and other necessary cargo downrange in the fight against ISIS.
“That is the most rewarding thing,” said Thoroughman.