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Flying Yankees Back in the Fight!

BRADLEY ANG BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- Welcome home to our Ops and Maintenance personnel who have returned from SWA in support of OIF/OEF. This first-ever ANG C-21 deployment was a huge success and another chapter in the distinguished record of the Flying Yankees. Some highlights include: no lost sorties to the Air Tasking Order, winner of Aircraft Maintenance Unit of the month, one of the highest Fully Mission Capable rates ever and several kudos from senior leadership for bringing SATCOM capability and going the extra mile to ensure mission accomplishment. 

Certainly nothing new here for the Flying Yankees - we continue to deliver outstanding results while deployed. This is true, not only for the Ops/MX deployments but, for every Support Group, Medical Group and AOG deployment as well. I've talked often of being able to bottle the "essence of TDY" and crack it open every once in awhile when we seem to lose focus on mission accomplishment here at home. The environment is different, sure, but the need to accomplish the home station mission is just as important as accomplishing the ATO mission while deployed and we should be equally proud of both. 

The ramp is a lot quieter these days, but let me tell you some of the things we've been doing. Daily, we transport the three and four stars of all branches of service saving them invaluable time by not having to go through the hassle of airline travel. We regularly transport members of congress. In response to natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, we transport crisis action teams to areas of need. At the start of the H1N1 breakout, we transported blood samples to the CDC in Atlanta. Several organizations on base have taken advantage of our service, saving valuable O&M funds -- money that can be used for you, the individual member, for things such as clothing, supplies, furniture, equipment or additional TDYs. The C-21 missions may not be as flashy or as visible, but are important and something of which to be proud. 

In a few weeks, we hope to have the roll-out plan for the C-27. This will trigger several events such as when the first aircraft hits the ramp, additional construction projects and a timeline for converting our existing Ops and MX personnel to the new airframe. We will also pick up approximately 30 slots in the 1A2xx career field - loadmaster - in a mix of full-time and traditional positions. Details will be coming soon on the qualifications needed and opportunities for a career enlisted aviation position. 

I know I titled this article "Back in the Fight," but it should probably be "Still in the Fight" or, even better, "Always in the Fight." Now, if I could only figure out how to bottle that essence of TDY..............