An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Mission Support: behind the headlines

  • Published
  • By by Lt. Col. Keith Travis
  • 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group
Have you ever looked up at a helicopter or aircraft in the sky and wondered "what does it take for that thing to fly?"

If you haven't, don't feel bad. Most folks would answer with the obvious ... pilots and maintenance personnel. But there's more to the story. That's where the advisers of the 443rd Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron come in.

Our motivated team of multi-service, multi-national military and contract personnel dedicate themselves to helping the Kandahar Air Wing build mission support capabilities and infrastructure, in other words, "shaping the playing field" for an independent Afghan air force.

What is mission support? Well, if it's not medical, flying or fixing aircraft, then it's mission support. Historically described as "everything from beans to bullets," our responsibilities range from aircraft support, aircraft parts, fuel and passenger/cargo operations to providing the best possible living and working conditions for the base personnel, buildings, communications, dining and vehicles. Additionally, we provide protection for the base personnel and assets through the fire department and security forces squadron.

The task before the 443rd is a daunting one ... 20 advisers training more than 450 Airmen of the AAF Kandahar Mission Support Group across 10 distinctly different career fields. Fortunately, we've built strong working partnerships with other units at Kandahar Airfield which assist with resources and additional expertise. The many successes that we've had to date are the result of these partnerships -- a textbook example of teamwork.

All the resources and advisers in the world would be for naught without the cooperation of the Afghan airmen who we support. As a whole, the Airmen of the mission support group are hungry for knowledge and new skills. They understand the success of their military, and ultimately their country rests upon their shoulders; nobody else can do it for them. They also realize that, while their jobs may not be as glamorous as flying aircraft, if they fail in their mission then the wing's mission as a whole suffers.

I've been proud to participate in the growth of KAW's mission support capacity and I'm excited every day to lead the men and women of the 443rd!