The new C-17 transport aircraft “came of age” in the Global War on Terror when it began delivering supplies in the combat theater to help replace ground convoy missions, Gen. Duncan McNabb, head of Air Mobility Command, said at a seminar in Washington Tuesday. McNabb noted that the service’s two strategic airlifters—C-17s and C-5s—have flown a total of 13,000 sorties over the past year, transporting supplies and troops into and around the theater—the latter largely the work of the more nimble C-17. By flying those sorties, he said, the Air Force has managed to keep about 9,000 personnel per month out of harms’ way, particularly from the No. 1 killer in Iraq—improvised explosive devices.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.