Airmen deployed to the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and the 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Southwest Asia learned their home units at Keesler AFB, Miss., would inactivate this fiscal year. “The 815th Airlift Squadron, which is a Reserve unit, and their Active Duty counterpart, the 345th [AS], have been the subject of force restructuring for quite some time now,” said Lt. Col. Brian Freeman, commander of the 746th EAS, who is deployed from Keesler. “We have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for a number of years. For many people, the decision to shut down the units gave a sense of closure.” The four C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 746th EAS will continue to provide intra-theater tactical airlift and aeromedical evacuation support for Operation Enduring Freedom. One of the four Super Hercs will remain on standby 24/7, states the release. “The airmen here, both in maintenance and ops, are putting in hard work and are performing at a 100 percent effectiveness rate,” said Freeman. “We will do everything we can to take care of one another during this deployment and in the future.”
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.