Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Exercise Begins Iraqi Air Force Squadron's Move

DefendAmerica News - By U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Herb Phillips
Coalition Military Assistance and Training Team Air Cell

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 25, 2005 — With the lift-off of two fully-loaded C-130E Hercules aircraft from Ali Base in southern Iraq Oct. 12, the Iraqi Air Force's 23rd Squadron (Transport) began its move to its new home at Al Muthana Air Base at Baghdad International Airport.
The move is part of "Independent Action," the first in a series of exercises aimed at developing the C-130 squadron.

The intent of this exercise was to deploy the squadron's aircraft, equipment, aircrew and maintenance personnel to New Al Muthana and operate independent of its coalition partner unit, the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

The exercise tested the ability of mostly operations personnel to plan, schedule and execute missions from New Al Muthana using support services from the base and the surrounding Baghdad International Airport complex.

Over the course of the six-day exercise, the squadron flew missions supporting the Iraqi Constitutional referendum, airlifted backlogged cargo from various bases across Iraq for the Coalition Air Operations Center and provided transportation for the Minister of Defense.

In all, the squadron flew 10 missions with 251 passengers and 31.5 tons of cargo. The exercise also tested the capabilities of New Al Muthana to support flying operations in the future. Several areas were identified as requiring attention, but officials said the exercise turned out to be a great start to transitioning the squadron to its future home.

The next exercise will focus on maintenance personnel and identifying support issues in advance of the permanent move, scheduled for January 2006.