Members of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing’s Det. 1, operating from an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia, recently loaded five mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles, or M-ATVs, on a C-17 bound for Afghanistan. These were the last of the more than 2,500 life-saving M-ATVs that airmen helped rush there to protect US ground troops who have entered that nation in increased numbers this year. Col. Keith Moncrief, the detachment commander, said his airmen actually completed the M-ATV surge three months ahead of schedule. “We found out, through exhaustible research and a lot of math, that we could take five vehicles [on the C-17] versus four. That tied up fewer airplanes,” he explained. President Obama last December ordered 30,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan. That added force is now in place. Air Force mobility assets got them there. (379th AEW report by TSgt. Kevin Nichols)
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.