Letting Go Big Time

The more than 100 airmen of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, a C-17 unit from Charleston AFB, S.C., flying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, dropped their one millionth pound of cargo on Feb. 16 during a mission over Afghanistan, just 42 days into their overseas deployment. “The need for airdrop has increased dramatically,” said Lt. Col. Chris Mann, the unit’s commander. He added, “We have a lot of pride in being able to airdrop these supplies.” On average, each of the squadron’s C-17s drop 30,000 pounds of supplies and equipment per mission. They have been supporting more than 20 forward operating bases, mostly in Afghanistan, many of which are in high and difficult terrain for ground supply convoys to reach. The cargo includes food, water, ammunition, fuel, and medical supplies. At times, the C-17s will also drop items like blankets, clothing, and soccer balls to Afghan villages as gestures of US good will. (379th AEW report by SrA. Brok McCarthy)