The Air Force increased the airlift pace over the weekend as it transported Americans from Cyprus to Ramstein AB, Germany and on to the US, reports Stars and Stripes. Four C-17s deployed to Southwest Asia from Charleston AFB, S.C., took off Saturday from Cyprus, hauling some 100 passengers each; another four flights were slated for Sunday. The Administration augmented the C-17s with commercial charter flights. Earlier, USAF C-17s had delivered supplies to Cyprus to sustain the evacuees, and USAF helicopters helped fly Americans from Lebanon to Cyprus. By July 23, more than 10,000 US citizens had been evacuated from Lebanon, including 1,400 who were evacuated by boat to Turkey.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.