New Lifeline Begins

Airmen with the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, S.C., on Wednesday began the distribution of the US military’s new MRAP all-terrain vehicles to Afghanistan by loading two of them on a Southwest Asia-bound C-17 that flew in from McChord AFB, Wash. Charleston will be the sole air distribution center for the overseas shipments of these M-ATVs, which are lighter than previous MRAP versions and are more suited to the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. From now until the end of December, between 300 and 500 M-ATVs are slated to be airlifted into Afghanistan each month via Charleston. “We’ll be busy,” said Lt. Col. Robert Neal, commander of the 437th Aerial Port Squadron. But the work of his airmen in getting these explosion-resistant vehicles to the fight will help save lives, he noted. (Charleston report by SSgt. Daniel Bowles)