USAF Commits to Iraqi Air Force

The US Air Force activated the 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group and Squadron at New Al Muthana AB, Iraq, on April 22, cementing its intention to facilitate the reconstruction of the Iraqi Air Force. The US airmen assigned to these units spend six months to a year helping Iraqi airmen achieve the ability to maintain, fly, and operate their C-130 aircraft. (USAF journalist SSgt. Carlos Diaz has two brief reports covering the activation and assistance.) Stars and Stripes reports that Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, head of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, told reporters that the decade-long no-fly zone operations left Iraq with an airman generation gap and that training more Iraqi pilots is critical. The goal is about 135 per year.