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Dover reservists support nation’s counterdrug effort

Dover reservists support nation’s counterdrug effort

A C-5M Super Galaxy operated by the 709th Airlift Squadron, a U.S. Air Force Reserve unit based at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, loads U.S. Department of Homeland Security equipment at Panama Pacificio International Airport, Panama, April 6, 2020. This 709th AS transported over 100,000 pounds of cargo, including 12 pallets and 11 rolling stock to San Angelo Regional Airport, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Cacicia)

Dover reservists support nation’s counterdrug effort

Tech. Sgt. Kyle Klinkenborg, 709th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, martials a forklift as it places a cargo pallet on a C-5M Super Galaxy’s rear ramp at Panama Pacificio International Airport, Panama, April 6, 2020. Klinkenborg received and passed an evaluation check-ride during the counter drug support mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Cacicia)

Dover reservists support nation’s counterdrug effort

Master Sgt. Ryan Villermaux, 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief, adds oil to a C-5M Super Galaxy jet engine at San Angelo Regional Airport, Texas, April 9, 2020. Villermaux, a Reserve Citizen Airman, provided aircraft maintenance support during the counterdrug support mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Cacicia)

Dover reservists support nation’s counterdrug effort

Tech. Sgt. Oy Maldonado, 709th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, martials a forklift toward a C-5M Super Galaxy’s front ramp at San Angelo Regional Airport, Texas, April 9, 2020. Maldonado has flown as a C-5 loadmaster for more than 25 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Cacicia)

Dover reservists support nation’s counterdrug effort

Tech. Sgt. Vasean Townsend, 709th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, spots a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Humvee as it backs out of a C-5M Super Galaxy’s front ramp at San Angelo Regional Airport, Texas, April 9, 2020. A reserve aircrew assigned to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, supported the counterdrug mission and conducted readiness training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Cacicia)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a 512th Airlift Wing aircrew comprised of Reserve Citizen Airmen, airlifted counterdrug equipment out of Panama earlier this week.

The mission from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, supported the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and involved hauling over 100,000 pounds of cargo from Panama Pacificio International Airport, Panama, to San Angelo Regional Airport, Texas.

“It was a difficult mission because of all the moving parts and the constantly changing dynamics,” said Capt. Scott McCoy, 709th Airlift Squadron pilot and aircraft commander. “It was successful, because we had a crew of highly experienced people who went above and beyond to make sure the job got done.”

Loadmasters and DHS personnel filled the cargo compartment with 12 pallets and 11 rolling stock items that included mobile generators, trailers and surveillance equipment used to counter illicit drug trafficking throughout the region.

The 512th AW regularly participates in these operations with both its C-5Ms and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to deliver personnel and material for other government agencies, while receiving readiness training for its aircrew.

In addition to the primary mission of transporting cargo, three loadmasters and a flight engineer received and passed evaluation check-rides, ensuring their updated qualifications and readiness.

“With minimal on-ground support in Panama, these loadmasters successfully accomplished a difficult load in an efficient manner,” said Master Sgt. David Finfinger, 709th AS evaluator loadmaster.

According to the 2021 National Drug Control Strategy, counterdrug operations like this, with cooperation between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, keep Americans safe at home by providing support for efforts to target every aspect of the opioid crisis.