Friday, July 31, 2009

Airpower delivers 'critical' ammunition to Afghanistan National Army soldiers on the ground

Posted 7/31/2009 Updated 7/31/2009

by Capt. David Faggard
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

7/31/2009 - BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- Nothing ever goes by the book, but this is a classic example of Airpower supporting ground forces--primarily the Afghanistan National Army--with Close Air Support and air-drop capabilities.

The day could be like any other day, but the calls came in -- Coalition forces, engaged with the enemy on the ground were running low on ammunition and needed a re-supply.

Like a swarm of bees overhead looking to sting, U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters, deployed from the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne from Ft. Campbell, Ky. and U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthogs deployed from Moody AFB, Ga. weren't going to let anything happen to their allies fighting on the ground.

Captain Matthew Clementz, one of the Apache gunship pilots that day with Task Force Attack said that between his Apaches and the A-10 Warthogs, they cleared the way of insurgents for the airdrop and that there was "good interaction with eachother."

In classic fashion, a workhorse of modern warfare was ready to assist. Lumbering over enemy terrain, the C-130 Hercules and crew assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron here had the ammunition destined for the Afghans fighting for their lives on the ground.

At the helm of the 25-year- old-airplane was Capt. D.J. Spisso deployed from Savannah, Georgia's 165th Airlift Wing and he knew this mission would be different.

The success of the mission rested in the hands of an aircrew blended of active-duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen from various units from the U.S., to include Schenectady, N.Y.; Savannah, Ga.; Little Rock, Ark.; Saint Joseph's, Mo. and Mansfield, Ohio.

"This was a complete team effort," Capt. Spisso said. "It was difficult terrain, communications were scarce and we made it; it was a good drop."

And making the drop right on target is important when the good guys are in need according to Capt. Spisso, a pilot whom is employed by the civilian airline Airtran when not in an Air Force uniform.

"It's something you feel good about-- helping Coalition partners in need," he said. "Coalition members coming together for a common good," the Citadel graduate said and that's just what happened "we're willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done."

And fortunately for the Afghan soldiers on the ground fighting the enemy, the Air Force's commitment to Total Force and joint operations paid off and the 'Herk-drivers' hit their mark.

Editor's Note: The location, date and time were intentionally left out of this story for security concerns.


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