The 387th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron in Iraq has seen a 200 percent increase in convoy missions as they work to remove cargo and equipment out of Iraq in time for the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline. “When we first got here last month, the squadron was averaging about 11 missions per [month],” said Lt. Col. John O’Connor, 387th ELRS commander. Now the squadron is on track to reach an average of 35 missions per month, according to a release. During one recent mission, Air Force truckers with the 70th Medium Truck Detachment worked alongside convoy escort team soldiers of B Troop, I-94 Cavalry, with the Minnesota Army National Guard. For six nights, the airmen and soldiers traveled 1,100 miles of desert, city roads, and highway—risking insurgent attacks and improvised explosive devices buried along the roadways—to extract about 250,000 pounds of cargo. (See also Iraq Drawdown More than Halfway Complete from the Daily Report archives)
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.