PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Airmen and Air Force Reserve Command C-130 Hercules from Colorado’s 302nd Airlift Wing left here for a four-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Airmen are expected to provide airlift and aerial delivery support to operations in Southwest Asia to include Afghanistan.
The Air Force Reserve and active duty aircrews and aircraft maintainers will support airlift operations for U.S. Central Command. Airlift missions are likely to include delivery of supplies, equipment and personnel as well as aeromedical evacuation missions. This is the first time the Peterson Air Force Base assigned Reserve 731st Airlift Squadron and active duty 52nd Airlift Squadron deployments will coincide since the active duty unit was associated as part of the Reserve Wing in October 2009 through the U.S. Air Force’s Total Force Integration initiative.
Discussing the active association, 302nd Airlift Wing Commander Col. Jay Pittman said, “We’ve been training and working together on a daily basis since 2009. By deploying together, we are expecting to gain efficiencies and leverage the synergy and team atmosphere we’ve developed here in Colorado.”
The active association with the Reserve wing at Peterson has allowed both Reserve and active duty aircrews to train in mountainous terrain similar to what they will experience in Southwest Asia. “The training we conduct in Colorado is critical to preparing for our real world operations. Our aircrews will use their Colorado mountain flying experience during their deployment operations in the mountains of Afghanistan and the surrounding areas of Southwest Asia,” said Lt. Col. Jason Terry, 52nd AS Director of Operations.
Air Force Reservists and aircraft from the 302nd AW have deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn since 2005. The last time C-130s and personnel were activated and deployed from the Reserve wing was September of 2010. The active duty 52nd AS has deployed personnel and C-130s to Southwest Asia on a continuous basis since 2010.