By Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 10, 2014
Loadmasters from the Iraqi air force release bundles of food and water from the back of an Iraqi C-130J Super Hercules Aug. 30, 2014. . The Iraqi air force dropped five bundles of food and water to citizens in Amirli, Iraq after working alongside pilots and loadmasters from the United States Air Force’s 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. This mission was the first successful humanitarian aid airdrop conducted solely by the Iraqi air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock/released)
SOUTHWEST ASIA - U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Young, 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron commander deployed from the 24th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein, Germany, works alongside an Iraqi air force pilot to discuss final mission plans Aug. 29, 2014. The Iraqi air force delivered five bundles of food and water to citizens in Amirli, Iraq after working with United States Air Force pilots and loadmasters from the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron on mission planning and bundle rigging. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock/released)
Members of the Iraqi air force load pallets of food and water onto an Iraqi C-130J Super Hercules Aug. 29, 2014 in Baghdad, Iraq. After working alongside the United States Air Force during a military to military engagement, the Iraqi air force successfully dropped five bundles delivering food and water to citizens in Amirli, Iraq Aug. 30, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock/released)
For the last several months, members of the 386th
Air Expeditionary Wing have worked with Iraqi forces to help develop and refine
Iraq’s airdrop capability.
The initial effort was a success as Iraqi air forces
successfully dropped five bundles of food to the citizens of Amirli, Iraq on
Aug. 20, 2014. Since then, 386th AEW personnel have continued to
help in an advisory role to share their experience and improve the process.
As a result of that partnership, C-130s from Iraq were
able to drop 153 bundles containing 168,300 pounds of humanitarian aid near
Sinjar, Iraq, between Nov. 10-24.
The airdrops are
an important way for Iraq to get food, medicine and other necessities to the
people who may not have access to it, as well as resupply their own troops,
said Lt. Col. Greg Young, 386th Expeditionary Operations Support
“Many of the areas that need to be resupplied by the Iraqi
air force … have been cut off from major lines of communication,” he said.
“That’s what led us to help bolster the capability they already had.”
A number of factors go in to planning an airdrop, said Young.
They include pre-mission planning, selecting the drop zone, selecting the
altitudes for the drop, safety concerns for aircrew, cargo and people on the
ground, as well as loading the aircraft and actual mission execution.
While many of the Iraqi aircrews had previously received
training on airdrops at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., they did not have any
“What we hoped to accomplish with the Iraqi forces during
our time in Iraq was to be able to take the capability they had already
received through their training in the United States and to be able to execute
their mission effectively and safely,” he said.
In addition to helping the pilots, 386th AEW
personnel also assisted the Iraqi riggers and loadmasters.
Behind the scenes, a lot of the work that was done to help
this program take flight was to find what the Iraqi air forces capabilities
currently were, assess their goals, and help them develop a plan to meet those
goals, said Master Sgt. Justin Speight, 737th Expeditionary Airlift
Squadron loadmaster superintendent.
While 386th AEW personnel have assisted and
advised the Iraqi aircrews, the mission and capability is still their own.
The goal of this continuing effort is to enable the Iraqi
air force to conduct missions in their own way, allowing them to determine
their own processes and measures of success and effectiveness, said Young.
“U.S. support enables the Iraqi’s mission in a number of
ways,” he said. “We provide mentorship for their forces and we provide
confidence for their leadership that the mission can go as planned.”
The real impact of this partnership and what the Iraqi’s
have accomplished is that a child who might not have been eating on a regular
basis has fresh food and water, said Young.