After more than five years of training Iraqi UH-1 Huey pilots aboard their helicopters, US Air Force instructor pilots of the 721st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron at Camp Taji have turned over that responsibility to Iraqi instructors. “[O]ur Huey advisors are no longer performing in-flight advising or training duties,” explained Lt. Col. Brandon Deacon, one of the US instructors. Instead, they will mentor members of the Iraqi Army Aviation Command’s 2nd Squadron from the ground on larger scope issues like developing interoperability, reliability, and sustainability. The Iraqi unit flies 16 Hueys. US maintenance advisors also are taking a step back, mentoring on strategic maintenance objectives and no longer turning wrenches alongside the Iraqis. These changes reflect the gradual handover of responsibility to the Iraqis as part of the US withdrawal from Iraq by year’s end. (Camp Taji report by TSgt. Jason Lake)
Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill announced Dec. 2 that they have reached a deal to extend the continuing resolution currently funding the government into February. Now, the House and Senate will have to scramble to pass the legislation by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 3 to avoid a temporary shutdown.