Farewell, Manas

The 376th Air Expeditionary Wing is scheduled to inactivate during a ceremony on June 3 as the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, reverts to the authority of the Kyrgyz government, announced Air Forces Central Command on Monday. Manas served as a critical US air mobility hub for more than 12 years, with the Air Force operating airplanes including C-17 transports and KC-135 tankers from there to support the war in Afghanistan. Some 5.3 million coalition personnel transited through the center, approximately 98 percent of all coalition forces who moved in and out of Afghanistan during this period, according to the release. After the Kyrgyz government decided not to renew the United States’ lease to Manas, which expires in July, US forces began drawing down from the center and shifting the mission to Mihail Kogalniceanu AB, Romania. The 376th AEW’s final KC-135 sortie took place in February. At the height of its operations, the wing comprised approximately 1,500 US military personnel, along with some 900 support contractors.