Patriot Airlift to Turkey

Total Force mobility airmen from units across the United States and in Europe are conducting a C-5 and C-17 airlift to deploy several Army Patriot missile defense batteries and hundreds of US personnel to Turkey this week to help secure the NATO ally against spillover from neighboring Syria’s civil war. “The Air Force has the unique means to provide rapid global mobility in support of an important ally,” said Brig. Gen. Larry Martin, Tanker Airlift Control Center vice commander at Scott AFB, Ill., in a Jan. 7 base release. NATO foreign ministers agreed in December to provide Turkey the air defense support it had requested. Germany and the Netherlands are also dispatching several Patriot batteries under NATO’s umbrella. The three nations’ batteries are expected to be operational in Turkey within the next several weeks, according to a Jan. 8 Pentagon release. Airmen at Altus AFB, Okla., last week began loading more than two million pounds of Patriot equipment on C-5s that flew there to pick up the gear, according to a base release. Several C-17s are establishing a follow-on “air bridge” to provision the deployment, said Scott officials.