A pair of maintainers with the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron took a trip to Mosul, Iraq, to rescue a stranded C-130 cargo airplane. SSgt. David Harrelson and SrA. Brian Kundick, both deployed to Iraq from Pope AFB, N.C., conferred with the C-130 flight engineer SSgt. Robert Alexander, who reported leaking hydraulic fluid. Harrelson crawled into the tail to find a failed elevator booster pack—the device that enables the aircraft to elevate and descend—while Kundick went to work on uncooperative access panel bolts outside the aircraft. It was late night and Kundick could see where security forces were spotlighting for snipers only a few hundred yards away. All in a day’s work—Harrelson noted, “It’s not unusual to find parts that age aboard a 42-year-old aircraft.” They finished the job the next day.
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.