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U.S. Air Force's Mission; Decide If You're Ready

Iraq Signs Deal for F-16 Fighters

The Air Force follows these three core values:

  • Integrity
  • Service Before Self
  • Excellence in All We Do

But what exactly does the Air Force do? Do they just fly planes all day long and laugh at everyone below?

No!

The Air Force focuses on flying, but only a small fraction of personnel actually fly. Most airmen and airwomen work on flight support missions, handling base affairs, protecting bases, constructing new airstrips, guarding missile sites, even doing rescues.

Here is a quick list of missions that might be handled by the Air Force:

  • Transporting cargo from base to base for any of the branches
  • Bombing runs
  • Close Air Support (CAS) for on-the-ground missions
  • Jet fighter patrols to protect airports, strategic locations, etc.
  • Airborne mapping & monitoring of targets
  • Maintenance of aerospace systems and planes
  • Base / embassy / airport / other security
  • Constructing a new base
  • In-flight refueling
  • Special rescue missions behind enemy lines
  • Medical service in impoverished areas
  • Food & supplies distribution around the world

Below are some examples of Air Force people and their missions:

Airmen complete 'Books for Baghdad' drive

April 20, 2004

ROME, N.Y. (AFPN) -- The company grade officer's council at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Rome research site here is sending a text message to Baghdad University.

Nearly 5,000 books, predominantly textbooks and university-level literature, have been collected from laboratory people and others in the community since the project began in early 2004.

The project began in early February with donation boxes placed in the lobbies of four laboratory buildings. It was expanded in March to the nearby Rome Free Academy and two local churches.

A team of about 15 military and civilian people said they plan to have the books sorted and packed by the end of April. They will then send them to the Al-Sharaka Program for Higher Education in Iraq, a consortium of Iraqi and Oklahoma universities dedicated to rebuilding higher education in Iraq.

"Can you imagine trying to get a good college education without books and without a library?" Lieutenant Robertson asked. "All these books that had been stashed in a corner of the attic, in a closet or a garage can now make a real difference in the lives of some Iraqi students."

Rescue team integral to contingency operations

April 14, 2004

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Imagine riding along outside the safety of a base and suddenly a rocket-propelled grenade blows a hole in the ground next to a Humvee in your convoy. The blast causes the vehicle to crash and flip upside down. One of your drivers is stuck under the wreckage; you have no equipment to help get him out and are miles from any base. As the convoy commander, who do you turn to for help?

The Airmen in the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron are ready to help.

The 64th ERQS consists of pararescuemen from the 38th Rescue Squadron; helicopter crews and aircraft from the 41st Rescue Squadron; and maintainers assigned to the 41st Helicopter Maintenance Unit, all from Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

The combat search and rescue team is an integral part of any contingency operation.

"The traditional combat search and rescue role of picking up downed pilots during ... operations has transitioned into broader personnel recovery operations in this global war on terrorism," said Lt. Col. Lee dePalo, 64th ERQS commander. "Our operations not only cover the Air Force, but any branch of service that needs our assistance."

B-2 drops 80 test bombs

August 8, 2003

In an effort to increase the B-2 Spirit's operational capability, a test force here conducted an airborne release of 80 Joint Direct Attack Munitions separation test vehicles. The separation test vehicles are inert weapons used to collect data.

The Aug. 6 test was one of more than nine sorties flown as a build-up toward equipping the aircraft to carry and release up to 80 JDAMs on a single missions, according to Mark Burke, 419th Flight Test Squadron project manager. The purpose of the build-up approach is to reduce the risk of aircraft collision with the weapons, explained Burke.

"The overall objective of this program is to integrate the Smart Bomb Release Assembly and JDAM-82 into the B-2," said Burke. "This improved capability will allow the B-2 to carry 80 JDAMs."

Civil engineers build Iraqi base

August 8, 2003

TALLIL AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Everything that does not move is covered in a grayish-brown, powdery dust. The heat is oppressive -- more than 120 degrees in the shade. Open fields and roads bear craters large enough to swallow small trucks.

In March, the area around Tallil Air Base looked more like the surface of the moon than the bustling tent city and flightline area standing today. After the base fell to coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the landscape was desolate, save a few abandoned buildings, many of which still had extensive damage remaining from the first Gulf War.

The task of transforming this uninhabitable stretch of desert brushland into an operational air base fell on the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. In the past four months, the people assigned to the unit have moved more than 9,500 truckloads of fill dirt, assembled more than 350,000 square feet of facilities, trenched more than 40,000 feet of electrical cable and buried more than five miles of underground water pipe.

"I hope the people coming in have an appreciation for what's been done here," Miller said. "It's easy to take the little things like running water and air conditioning for granted, but without the hard work of the folks in this squadron, none of it would be here at Tallil now."

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