We reported a couple of months ago that the C-17 unit deployed to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron on the last four-month rotation had hauled some 120 million pounds of cargo. The yearly number for the 816th, which has been populated by four C-17 squadrons from Charleston AFB, S.C. is more than twice that. Capt. Teresa Sullivan reports that all four squadrons over the past year have flown some 13,000 sorties, hauling 370 million pounds of cargo and 370,000 passengers. Each squadron has deployed to Southwest Asia for 120-day rotations, which marked a change for the C-17 mobility force, which used to fly in and out from the US and Europe. Lt. Col. Paul Eberhart, 816th EAS commander and deployed from Charleston’s 16th Airlift Squadron, praises the predictability of the new rotation policy: “Since we’ve trained together as a team, we’re able to accomplish more when we get here with less fatigue related and continuity issues. It also provides a more stable home life.”
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.