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McChord Airmen help Mali airlfit reach milestone

52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Published: 02:47PM February 25th, 2013

Senior Airman Brandi Hansen

French soldiers assist aircrew from the 4th Airlift Squadron, 62nd AW, unloading French military cargo after their transportation flight Jan. 25, from Base Aerienne 125, Istres, France to Mali. The flight included transportation of military vehicles, equipment, and personnel.

ISTRES, France — The Air Force reached a major milestone Feb. 12 when the service hit the 2 million pounds of cargo transported mark during airlift operations from Istres, France to Bamako, Mali and other partner nations in support of French military operations in Northern Africa.

Aircraft from the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and the 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Del. — C-17 Globemasters staging from Istres — have also transported 830 French military personnel to Mali. At the request of the French government, the Air Force began 43 airlift operations missions under the control of U.S. Africa Command Jan. 21. The U.S. is supporting France and international partners to confront Al Qaida in Islamic Maghreb and affiliated extremists in Northern Africa.

Delivering 2 million pounds of cargo in 23 days is quite an achievement.

“This operation has been extremely rewarding, supporting our French partner’s efforts to promote stability in Mali,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Underwood, 621st Contingency Response Element commander. “Working through the challenges of unfamiliar equipment and different languages made crossing the 2 million pound threshold that much more satisfying, but we know there is more work to do.”