3/29/2007 - KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq (AFNEWS) -- The Iraqi air
force is taking off once again with the help of U.S. Air Force Airmen
who serve with the Coalition Air Force Transition Team in Iraq.
At IAF Squadron 70 in Basra and IAF Squadron 3 in Kirkuk, Iraqi airmen
fly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over oil
pipelines and other areas of interest, all the while keeping an eye out
for insurgent activity.
"They protect the oil pipelines and infrastructure, and perform general
counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering," said Maj. Gary Lyles,
CAFTT intelligence and surveillance program manager. "They have the game
plan, and now they are starting to run with the ball."
At IAF Squadron 23 located at New Al Muthana Air Base in Baghdad, Iraqi
airmen fly C-130E aircraft missions to deliver troops and cargo in
support of the Iraqi government. As the largest and most seasoned IAF
squadron, Squadron 23 has about 45 aircrew, 120 maintenance and 130
support personnel assigned.
"The C-130 program is the most advanced," said General Hoog. "It's been
in place for two-and-a-half years, and we've been training Iraqi pilots
side-by-side with our Air Force advisers. They fly each and every day
doing cargo missions, and they are already flying troops in from Basra