Afghanistan airdrop levels set record in 2010
Mobility Airmen supporting operations in Afghanistan airdropped 60.4 million pounds of cargo airdropped throughout the country, setting a record.
In all, the 60.4 million pounds is nearly twice the previous record year of 2009, where just over 32.2 million pounds of cargo was airdropped, Air Forces Central statistics show.
Experts attribute the increase to the surge of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan between December 2009 and August 2010. In those nine months, AFCENT stats confirmed more than 40 million pounds of cargo were airdropped.
Throughout Afghanistan, the mountainous areas, remote operating locations and limited infrastructure have made the need for airdrops a necessity. That necessity has grown with more troops on the ground. According to a Jan. 12 Department of Defense news report, "numbers of U.S. troops and civilians, allied trainers and combat forces, Afghan army and police trainees all increased" in Afghanistan by more than 100,000 in 2010, compared to previous years.
Since 2006, the annual amount of airdrops has nearly doubled each year. According to the AFCENT statistics released Jan. 19, the amount of airdrop poundage in Afghanistan over the past five years are 3.5 million in 2006, 8.12 million in 2007, 16.57 million in 2008, 32.26 million in 2009 and 60.4 million in 2010.
"These airdrops are critical to sustaining ground forces at austere locations where other means of re supply aren't feasible," said Col. David Almand, who served as director of the Combined Air and Space Operations Center's Air Mobility Division in 2010. "This continued sustainment of our warfighting forces is key to counter insurgency operations, which require persistent presence and logistics."
The mobility Airmen assigned to support those airdrops missions have said they are proud to be able to directly support those "boots on the ground" with the supplies they need, no matter where in Afghanistan they are operating.
"It's very humbling to have such an impact on the war effort," said Staff Sgt. T.J. Grover, a C-130J loadmaster deployed with the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. "Especially when you hear about people on the ground who have close to nothing, and we make their day if we even fly in something that's bare-minimum, but it's still a step above what they had. These guys at forward operating bases aren't getting stuff because they want it; they get it because they need it."
Article by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol, Air Mobility Command Public Affairs