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News > Commentary - Transit Center directly impacts the War
Transit Center directly impacts the War

Posted 7/30/2009   Updated 7/30/2009 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Major Rickardo Bodden
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


7/30/2009 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyz Republic -- Some people really don't know what we accomplish here at the Transit Center. In basic form, our main missions are onward movement of coalition personnel, airlift (cargo) and air refueling. 

I'd like to spend some time explaining the air refueling portion. The contributions that our KC-135 Stratotankers make are significant for operations in Afghanistan. Our assigned KC-135 refuelers are providing the fuel that coalition aircraft need to conduct combat and combat-support operations. 

I'll give you a brief synopsis about missions we have supported within the last few days.
Over the skies of Afghanistan, near Qalat, Navy F/A-18E-F Super Hornets and B-1B Lancers performed armed over watch of friendly forces. They conducted shows of force (presence patrols) letting the enemy know they were there to protect coalition forces if a situation required it. Navy aircraft strafed an enemy position after coalition forces were attacked with small-arms fire. 

Coalition aircraft also dropped guided bombs on the enemy position, destroying an enemy's arms cache. Without tanker gas this operation to protect friendly forces would not have been possible. 

At Asmar, F-15E Strike Eagles provided cover for coalition forces taking small-arms fire. The Strike Eagles dropped precision-guided munitions that eliminated the threat to coalition forces. Without the fuel coming from the Transit Center, coalition forces would have had no close air support. 

Near Lashkar Gah, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs provided overwatch for friendly forces in a convoy. Enemy forces opened fire on the convoy with rocket propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The A-10s repeatedly strafed enemy positions, which stopped the enemy's engagement on the convoy. The A-10s were fueled with gas that came from the Transit Center. 

And for a final example, several F-15Es were in the vicinity of Kabul to provide air cover for friendly forces. After a convoy was hit with an improvised explosive device, the F-15Es provided support to the friendly forces that were under imminent threat of enemy fire.
 
The F-15s' presence deterred the enemy from further attack on friendly forces. The fighter aircrafts were able to be there and loiter around the area because of the fuel they received from our jets here. 

It all amounts to this simple rationale. Our gas is saving lives. If we are not providing the fuel, more coalition forces lives would be in danger and even lost. The men and women of the 376 Air Expeditionary Wing, who assist in operating the Transit Center, all have a part to play in these air operations. We are all here supporting the same missions. This Transit Center at Manas fulfills the old air refueling community phrase, "Nobody kicks butt without Tanker Gas."



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