Spartans in the Fight

Airmen with the Ohio Air National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield have embarked on the first-ever overseas deployment of the Air Guard’s new C-27J transports, unit officials announced Tuesday. The Mansfield airmen headed to Afghanistan, along with National Guard soldiers from Georgia and Oklahoma, to work in conjunction with the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Ft. Campbell, Ky. The C-27s will provide direct support to Army ground units via airlifts and airdrops. “I could not be more proud of the folks around the country and the agencies and organizations that assisted with getting these planes out the door,” said Col. Gary McCue, 179th AW commander. This C-27J team will remain overseas for nine months, said Mansfield officials. The Ohio wing was the first Air Guard unit to convert to the C-27J, a twin turboprop aircraft capable of operating from austere airstrips. The challenges of bedding down the new aircraft, while simultaneously preparing for its maiden overseas rotation, delayed the deployment for several months. (Mansfield report by 2nd Lt. Holli Snyder) (For more on the C-27J, read Spartan Beginnings from Air Force Magazine’s 2011 archive.)