***image1***KIGALI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Rwanda – It takes a lot more than Hercules to move Rwandan Defense Force members to Sudan’s Darfur region.
The C-130 Hercules needs a team working together to make sure things go right.
There were 10 crew-members on each of the flights working together to ensure the approximately 13-hour round-trip mission into Sudan was successful.
“There are so many moving parts to the mission that one person can’t do it alone,” said Capt. Bryan Aulner, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot.
Three of the team members were Ravens, specially-trained flyaway security forces personnel who protect aircraft and aircrews while airborne and on the ground.
“We travel with the air crew to provide close-in-proximity security for both the aircraft and crew when flying into an area where security is not deemed adequate,” said Staff Sgt. Lee Lyles, 786th Security Forces Squadron Raven. “We are their only line of defense.”
The Darfur region has no established security, so having the Ravens on board was necessary for the protection of the aircraft, crew and the Rwandans.
“We were really excited to be part of this mission,” said Airman 1st Class Brian McCann, 37th AS loadmaster. “We wanted to ensure the Rwandan troops were comfortable, and in the case of an emergency that we got them to safety quickly.”
Flying with passengers that speak a different language can be difficult, said Tech. Sgt. A.K. Roberts, 37th AS loadmaster.
“However, if an emergency were to happen, we have the training to get people out safely, even if they speak a different language,” said Sergeant Roberts.
The Rwandan troops going into Sudan will help provide security in the area so various governmental and non-governmental agencies can deliver vital humanitarian relief to Darfur and eastern Chad. The U.S. Air Force is assisting the African Union mission in Sudan by providing airlift into the country.
“I think it is awesome we have the opportunity to support the Rwandan troops and the African Union,” said Captain Aulner. “The Darfur region has endured so much suffering. I’m proud we’re part of the solution.”