About 90 Air Force Reservists from the 908th Airlift Wing, a C-130 unit, left Maxwell AFB, Ala., on Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 for Southwest Asia. The 908th is the first Hercules wing within Air Force Reserve Command to deploy to the Middle East/Near East Theater under a new rotation scheme filled by volunteers who will serve one-month tours, the command said in a release. AFRC also reported that volunteer Reservists also are providing the dedicated aircrews that will fly the two C-17s that Air Mobility Command will operate out of Ramstein AB, Germany, for the foreseeable future. The first of the two C-17s arrived on Jan. 29 at Ramstein from Charleston AFB, S.C., while the crew that will fly it came in from AFRC’s 514th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire AFB, N.J. The second C-17 will arrive later this year along with two more aircrews. “This is a great partnership and a first step toward better utilization of our assets and support to the global airlift mission,” said Lt. Col. James Fryer, commander of AFRC’s 732nd Airlift Squadron from McGuire, of the C-17 mission at Ramstein.
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.