BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
When personnel and equipment need to be moved within Afghanistan, the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron answers the call.
The squadron operated C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and provides many functions in support of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wings mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, including the movement of personnel and logistical equipment from base to base.
“We are helping move cargo as soon as possible and helping transport patients that have been injured,” said Senior Airman Mark Fernandez, a C-130J hydraulics specialist. “Everything we do is to support the other missions around us.”
One of the unique aspects of having the C-130J at Bagram is the ability for the aircraft to be configured to support the mission of the 455th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
“Twenty-four hours a day there’s a C-130J up in the air supporting Afghanistan because of the work that our squadron does each and every day,” said Lt. Col. Chad Overton, 774th EAS commander.
Airlift and maintenance Airmen continually support Afghanistan’s busiest airfields, support counterterrorism operations and partners, and deliver decisive airpower throughout the region by enabling airlift of assets and personnel.
“Our team is out here performing the mission that they are all experts in,” Overton said. “They are here doing something worthwhile.”
In order to keep these aircraft flying 24 hours a day, it takes a dedicated group of maintainers working behind the scenes.
“The mission is important because we are helping out the people of Afghanistan,” Fernandez said. “We are helping our troops get here as soon as we can.”
Maintainers each have their own area of expertise but come together in order to safely and effectively keep the fleet fit to fight.
“Any hydraulics issues ground the aircraft immediately,” Fernandez said. “My job is to make sure all of those systems are working properly from the steering and brakes to the flight controls. So even to the smallest inspection what the maintainers do is important.”
At the end of the day, every Airman works tirelessly to play their part in the overall mission.
“I’m a squadron commander at home, but being able to take my Airmen from home out to combat is just an incredible honor,” Overton said. “They are experts in their fields and that brings a smile to my face.”