March sees record passenger, cargo transport
ARLINGTON, Va. — Unusually large troop movements into and out of the war zones resulted in new passenger and cargo records for Air Force transports working in the Middle East in March, according to U.S. Air Forces Central officials.
Aircrews belonging to U.S. Air Mobility Command flew 120,000 troops into, out of and within the U.S. Central Command’s 27-country area of responsibility, breaking their previous monthly record for passenger movement, set in September, by 3 percent, officials said in a news release Wednesday.
At the same time, more than 41,350,000 tons of cargo was being flown in and around the Middle East and Horn of Africa, breaking the existing single-month cargo record, set in December, by 7 percent.
CENTCOM’s unusually high demand for airlift in March was caused by the high volume of ground combat units that were either deploying or coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Lt. Col. Brian Robinson, Air Mobility Division director at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
The high airlift tempo continues this month, as the “surge” brigades come home from Iraq, and an additional 3,200 Marines move into Afghanistan for a seven- month mission.