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.
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.