The Js are Here

The Air Force has just stood up a new airlift squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to support the increased levels of US troops in the country. The 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, a C-130J unit, was officially activated on March 15 under the 451st Air Expeditionary Group. “Tactical airlift is a high-demand asset here, and we are at the leading edge of the Afghanistan surge of forces,” said Col. Ted Osowski, commander of the 451st AEG. He added, “The C-130J is a very capable aircraft and we are happy to have them; they’re going to be busy.” Indeed, already on the day prior to the formal standup, the first four of the squadron’s aircraft were flying missions. The 772nd EAS will have eight C-130Js and about 120 operations and maintenance personnel, all of which come from the Little Rock AFB, Ark.-based 41st Airlift Squadron, which deployed to Southwest Asia in early 2008 with its new J models and currently is the Air Force’s only active duty operational C-130J unit. “Being the only active duty C-130J unit in theater, we will have the opportunity to lay the foundation for future C-130J operations here,” said MSgt. Patrick Drozd, a C-130J loadmaster now with the 772nd EAS. (Kandahar report by SSgt. Zachary Wilson)