May 10, 2017 (by James Branch) - There were clear skies and bittersweet goodbyes as four C-130 H3 Hercules aircraft departed Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia May 8, 2017 in route to Southwest Asia.
USAF C-130H #93-1039 from 700 AS depart Dobbins ARB on May 8, 2017 in route to Southwest Asia. Over 150 aircrew, aircraft maintenance and support personnel from the 94th Operations and Maintenance Groups will complete a four-month Air Expeditionary Force rotation. [USAF photo by Don Peek]
Over 150 aircrew, aircraft maintenance and support personnel from the 94th Operations and Maintenance Groups will complete a four-month Air Expeditionary Force rotation, during which they will be responsible for cargo and personnel airlift and tactical airdrop missions.
The deployment marks the third AEF rotation for the 94th Airlift Wing since 2012.
"Today is a culmination of year-long training and preparation for this expeditionary mission," said Maj. Kevin Campanile, 700th Airlift Squadron director of operations. "You may see our C-130s flying from time-to-time. In addition to training at home station, our C-130 air crews and maintenance professionals have participated in exercises all around the world."
The deployment comes in addition to the more than 200 Reserve Citizen Airmen from Dobbins currently performing agile combat support missions throughout the world.
From October 2016 to October 2017, the 94th AW will deploy approximately 25 percent of its nearly 1,900 Airmen.
"I am very proud of our Airmen, said Brig. Gen. Steven B. Parker, 94th Airlift Wing commander. "Whether it's our security forces, civil engineering, force support, aerial port, or other specialties, we provide mission ready forces whenever and wherever we're needed."
The 94th AW is an operational unit of the Air Force Reserve that deploys routinely to provide Rapid Global Mobility and Agile Combat Support for contingency operations worldwide.
Most of the deploying Airmen are Traditional Reservists who live, work and have families in local communities while serving in the Air Force Reserve.
For 1st Lt. Michael Farinas, 94th OG C-130 co-pilot, this marks the first deployment.
"Leading up to this deployment, I had an exciting, yet anxious feeling," said Farinas. "Like me, everyone wants to go over and do a good job. I'm so grateful for the support we've received from our families and the local community. Without them, it's impossible for us to do our jobs well."
Deploying as a unit allows Airmen to continue functioning as a cohesive team while accomplishing the deployed mission, said Farinas.
Programs such as Yellow Ribbon provide support to the members and their families before, during and after their deployments.
"To ensure mission success, we are dedicated to making sure our deploying and returning members are always equipped with resources and connected to a community of support," said Parker.