Just in Time for Christmas

An Alaska Air National Guard C-130 aircrew deployed to Bagram AB, Afghanistan, got a last minute mission change on Christmas Eve to airdrop food, water, and other supplies to 50 soldiers guarding and working on a Army helicopter that made an emergency landing near a forward operating base. As the pilots started engines, the navigator was loading the flight plan by hand but before he was done, the crew had to de-ice the aircraft for a third time—the weather was bad at Bagram. After a 40-minute flight, the aircrew contacted the soldiers and took stock of the wind. The aircrew couldn’t see the supply bundles after they left the Hercules but could hear “ecstatic” shouts over the radio. Over the past year, USAF aircrews from Bagram have airdropped more than four million pounds to 10th Mountain Division soldiers in Afghanistan.