***image1***ALI AL SALEM AB, Kuwait — With the help of deployed Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing had a record-breaking month supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Active duty, guard and reserve C-130s here had more flying hours and carried more pallets and passengers in the month of August than any month previously. They also averaged more passengers per day than any other month.
Since November 2003, the highest number of passengers carried on an average day through the month of July was 1,344. In August, they surpassed that number at 1,698 a day.
The flying hours reached an all-time high of 2,833.3 for the month, almost 75 more hours than the previous months. The number of pallets loaded and carried for the month was 2,183 – more than 100 over the previous months.
But the most significant number of all those records broken was for passengers carried. The previous high number was in July, with 41,673. The month of August saw more than 52,600 passengers.
The regular missions performed by the total force C-130 unit here include moving Army personnel during their R&R rotations, transporting Iraqi police cadets, and resupplying forward deployed troops.
Hitting locations such as Kuwait International Airport, Baghdad International Airport and Balad Air Base, Iraq, crews work long days, under difficult circumstances, including heat and hostile small arms fire, anti-aircraft fire and surface to air missiles.
“The tactical airlifters of the 386th AEW are the best in the world and they prove it every day with an unmatched record of operational reliability and sortie effectiveness. Not only do our exceptional men and women get the job done, but they also do it safely in a dangerous and challenging environment,” said Lt. Col. John Holly, commander of the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.
Maintainers are able to keep the planes flying even while dealing with extremes in operations here, said Maj. Marvin Schaitel, commander, 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron.
“Temperatures can be 15 to 20 degrees hotter on the flightline than on the main base,” he said. “Picking up a wrench or touching the plane can result in a burn if gloves aren’t worn, and working inside the airplane can be best referred to as a sauna.
“But, in spite of all these challenges, the Airmen here continue to excel,” he said.