Airmen from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron Det. 1 at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, forward deployed to Mazar-e-Sharif to support operations and drawdown activities in Afghanistan. The group of some 120 airmen is the first forward deployed air refueling unit from the 370th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid to Afghanistan. They have flown some 400 missions since standing up earlier this year. Det. 1 also provides various services at the airfield, from security forces and maintenance, to logistics for several forward deployed KC-135s. Having refueling aircraft forward deployed has also made an impact on operations costs, as thus far the detachment has saved the Air Force about $28.3 million, while also keeping up with a steadily evolving mission in Afghanistan, said Lt. Col. Andrew Martin, the 340th EARS Det. 1 commander, in an Aug. 3 release.
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.