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Mississippi Reservists contribute to record-setting unit.

Members of the 815th Airlift Squadron from Keelser Air Force Base, Miss., are key contributors to a record-setting total force integrated unit at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

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The Reservists are deployed with the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, which also comprises members of the 345th AS, a regular Air Force unit associated with the 815th at Keesler, and the 41st AS, a regular Air Force unit assigned to Little Rock AFB, Ark.

In January, the 772nd set a record for the most airdrops in a month with 51. The previous record was 40 airdrops.

"It feels good to be setting records, but what you'll find with most of the guys here is that it doesn't matter if you break a record, it matters that you complete the mission and get the supplies where they need to go so we can help those guys on the ground," said Lt. Col. Walt Ord.

Colonel Ord is a pilot with the 815th AS who led the crew making the 41st airdrop. The aircraft delivered a load of water, food and fuel to a forward operating base.

In addition to successfully completing 51 airdrops, delivering more than 1.1 million pounds of cargo, the 772nd EAS moved close to 4,000 passengers and flew more than 420 sorties with approximately 400 flight hours during the month of January.

While the Army only expects a 90 percent recovery of airdropped supplies in this particular location, the accuracy of the 772nd EAS has boosted the recovery rate to 99 percent, according to Lt. Col. Frank Poukner of the 815th AS.

The 815th and 345th squadrons joined together in August to form the first C-130J total force integrated unit in the Air Force.

"The total force integration has helped both squadrons in that the active-duty Airmen tend to be a little younger, and they can learn from the experience of the 815th (AS)," Colonel Poukner said. "At the same time, the 345th (AS) has new guys coming in and are bringing fresh ideas from other squadrons. The squadron also can fill bodies on deployments, lifting some of the burden of missions off of the 815th."

The 772nd AS was established in March 2009 to support troops in locations where delivering supplies by means other than airdrops is both dangerous and difficult.

"Our guys are working hard," Colonel Poukner said. "Everyone has the can-do attitude toward doing what has to be done to get the mission accomplished. It is all due to the teamwork of everyone involved, from maintenance to load-masters to pilots."

(Airman Dupas is assigned to the 403rd Wing public affairs office at Keesler AFB. Senior Airman Melissa B. White, Air Education and Training Command public affairs at Lackland AFB, Texas, also contributed to this article.)

By Senior Airman Tabitha Dupas
COPYRIGHT 2011 Air Force Reserves
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Round the Reserve
Author:Dupas, Airman Tabitha
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Apr 1, 2011
Words:465
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