Al Udeid Wing Makes Transition

Before the start of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel on Jan. 1, combat aircraft operating with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing from al Udeid AB, Qatar, conducted their final missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the US combat mission in Afghanistan since 2001. Assets from al Udeid flying over Afghanistan during the final days of OEF included B-1 bombers from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, E-8 JSTARS ground-surveillance platforms of the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, C-130 transports from the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, KC-135 tankers from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, and RC-135 Rivet Joint electronic eavesdropping aircraft from the 733rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, according to a base release. With the dawn of OFS, wing operations are transitioning to support the post-combat US advisory role in Afghanistan. However, while the US ground footprint is smaller there now, “our airpower need remains,” said Col. Jim Dittus, 379th Expeditionary Operations Group commander.