TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - In May 2016, Airmen from Travis Air Force Base, California, played a pivotal role in the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant campaign during Operation Inherent Resolve. The airlift support and essential cargo directly contributed to the Iraqi offensive that included coalition military forces, which began Oct. 16 in Mosul, Iraq.
Aerial porters assigned to the 60th Aerial Port Squadron loaded U.S. Army Bridge Erection Boats and bridges onto C-5M Super Galaxies May 6 through 18 to assist in rebuilding damaged bridges in Mosul. The information was not releasable until now due to operational security.
The Bridge Erection Boats are used to deploy the bridges in wet-gap crossings, such as a river. The boats assemble the bridge sections and are constructed to provide a bridge, raft or ferry capability.
“During the bridge movement, (U.S. Transportation Command) looked at Travis and made the decision to completely move everything out of Northern California because of the base’s capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Brian Tavernier, 60th Operations Group deputy commander. “Travis had a capable port, the aircraft to move the cargo and the crews available to get it where it needed to go.”
Airmen from the 60th Operations Support Squadron and the 22nd Airlift Squadron jointly planned and executed the mission by organizing and flying the C-5Ms to deliver the boats and bridges, which totaled more than 750,000 pounds. Additionally, the 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assisted the 60th APS around the clock to replan outbound cargo loads and preload spare aircraft in case of delays. They also airlifted more than 250,000 pounds of ammunition and riot gear, directly supporting the operation at hand.
“The 22nd AS provided a total of nine crews, which equates to more than half of the squadron mobilized for a 6-to-12-day period with 48-hour notice,” said Capt. Adam Smith, 22nd AS C-5M pilot. “I was proud to watch the squadron and supporting areas (aerial port squadron, maintenance squadron, current operations) execute such an important mission with minimum time to plan or coordinate while the instructions/taskings were constantly varying from the (618th Air Operations Center). The flexibility of all players and the hard work of planning staffs were paramount in the successful execution of this mission.”
Since August 2014, U.S. and air coalition mobility forces have flown more than 40,000 sorties in support of OIR, enabling a total of 15,967 strikes in Iraq. Efforts to liberate Mosul remain underway. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James highlighted the joint efforts against ISIL. “You provide global reach for the United States and guarantee our role as a global power,” she said. “Bottom line: mobility enables outcome.”
In addition to supporting OIR, Air Mobility Command Airmen support nine combatant commands, operating from 77 locations in 23 countries providing airlift, aerial refueling, air mobility support and aeromedical evacuation to our nation’s warfighters.