A seven-member C-130 aircrew from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing made two harrowing flights into hostile territory in Afghanistan to airdrop critically needed supplies to a small unit of isolated coalition troops, USAF announced Friday. The ground troops were in a deep gorge in a mountainous river valley with enemy insurgents located all around them and were in dire need of food and water. The Air Guardsmen, operating out of Bagram Airfield, maneuvered their C-130 in the narrow valley between the mountain ridges in inclement weather to deliver 16 bundles of supplies with pinpoint accuracy during the two flights. “We had to fly between the rocks, find the drop zone, deliver the load, and turn around and do it again,” explained Maj. Eric Dolan, the C-130 navigator for the mission. (Bagram report by Maj. John Puckett)
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.