Airmen from Dover AFB, Del. deployed to Iraq for a year to help build an Air Force there, reports TSgt. Kevin Wallace. Among the Dover airmen is TSgt. Steven Miller who serves as a combat-aviation advisor and who said the work is sometimes “grueling” with extended hours. However, he added, “As each day passes, you can see dramatic gains in the maintenance and operations successes from the Iraqis.” He also noted that Iraqi airmen “put their lives on the line every day,” because some have been kidnapped and killed. Jim Garamone reports that the man who leads the coalition team working to rebuild the Iraq Air Force, Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice, said last week from Baghdad that the Iraqi airmen, who now number around 1,200, flew 231 sorties the previous week and has been averaging about 180 per week over the last month. They fly a mix of American and Russian fixed-wing and helicopter missions with their 50 aircraft. The Iraqis recently opened their flying training school.
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.