Now They Are Fully Manned

USAF airmen have been training Afghanistan counterparts in the employment of the C-27A Spartan tactical airlifter since last fall, graduating the first Afghan C-27 pilot in February, but the advisory unit they comprise has just recently achieved 100 percent manning. The 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron at Kabul “has already overcome some huge hurdles,” said SMSgt. Mike Crews, squadron superintendent who deployed from the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., noting that “we are now fully manned and will be able to continue toward our goal of building a professional air force for Afghanistan.” In addition to qualifying the first pilot, and a month later, the first loadmaster, the American airmen shepherded the first Afghan C-27 operational mission in March and subsequently have qualified five more pilots and loadmasters and flown another 19 operational missions. The fledgling Afghan C-27 force has grown to five aircraft. (Kabul report by TSgt. Oshawn Jefferson)