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Laughlin supports wildfire relief effort
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – A C-130 aircraft from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. prepares to land at Laughlin’s flight line April 16. The plane was one of three that was sent here to assist with the ongoing efforts to put out the wildfires that have ravaged much of Texas and Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize)
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Laughlin supports wildfire relief effort

Posted 4/18/2011   Updated 4/18/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize
47th Flying Training Wing public affairs


4/18/2011 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Laughlin members have rolled out the red carpet, so to speak, for a unit tasked with supporting fire-fighting efforts in Texas and Mexico.

Three C-130 aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. arrived here April 16 to a warm welcome from Laughlin's leadership and many others who made sure the crew, support and maintenance personnel had everything they needed to begin flying and fire-fighting operations.

Two of the aircraft are equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, or MAFFS, and were sent here to fly missions into Mexico and parts of Texas to provide firefighting support in the areas affected by wildfires. The third C-130 carried personnel and equipment and has since returned to Peterson.

"We're honored to be able to do whatever we can to assist in these efforts," said Col. Michael Frankel, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. "We will do all that we can to meet the needs of these crews."

Upon their arrival, the 34 Air Force Reservists were seamlessly in-processed at Laughlin's Base Operations. The group was then briefed by Laughlin's safety officer and an agent from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Once that was complete, transportation and rooms at the Laughlin Manor, the award-winning lodging facility here, were waiting for them.

"I'm very proud of our in-processing team," said Col. Angela Cadwell, 47th Mission Support Group commander. "They brought these crews in one door and by the time they got through the room, their records were checked in and they had room keys in hand."

In addition, members of Laughlin's transportation team sought out forklifts from around the base so the crews were better equipped to complete their mission and many Laughlin members worked through the weekend to support the mission.

The preparedness seemed to have a positive effect on the mission. Within three hours of their arrival, the crews had their planes in the air on their way to drop fire suppressant on the fires that have ravaged much of Mexico.

"Setting up a base like this on such short notice is extremely difficult. We're able to turn aircraft in record time due to the tremendous support of the 47th Flying Training Wing," said Lt. Col. Dave Condit, 302nd Air Expeditionary Group deputy commander. "The support here is world class."

The Department of Defense's efforts in Texas are at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center. The missions over Mexico are supporting the request of the government of Mexico. Both efforts are ongoing at this point.



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