The C-17 airlift workload for Southwest Asia operations used to be handled by two bases—one in Uzbekistan and one in Kyrgyzstan. Now it is all Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan. Since the first of the year, the base has moved more than 10,000 tons of cargo and almost 40,000 people, reports Air Force photojournalist SSgt. Lara Gale in the Ganci Gazette. Some of the C-17s fly loads twice in one day. Each airlifter requires both pre- and post-flight routine maintenance, plus an inspection every 72 hours, whether it’s flying or not. To make all that happen, specialist maintenance airmen at Manas are becoming more knowledgeable in areas outside their specialty—some becoming almost fully qualified crew chiefs with wide-ranging knowledge of all routine maintenance activities.
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.