Small Unit, Big Job
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kristine Legate
U.S. Army fixed-wing aircraft detachments are small communities
spread throughout the United States. In these communities, it’s
likely for everyone to cross paths at one point or another due to
the nature of their missions.
Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait,
is home to the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade’s fixed-wing C-12
Regional Flight Center, currently operated by Washington and Montana
Army National Guardsmen, and the UC-35 RFC, operated by U.S. Army
May 13, 2021 -
Soldiers with the C-12 Regional Flight Center, currently operated by Washington and Montana Army National Guardsmen, hold a U.S. flag in front of two C-12 Hurons at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. The unit provides flexible movement capabilities for distinguished visitors, command teams and supplies in theater. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristine Legate)
The C-12 RFC is comprised of 12 Guardsmen whose mission isn’t
typical of a flying unit.
“We provide flexible movement
capabilities for distinguished visitors, command teams and supplies
in theater,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Tony
Dohse, C-12 RFC standardization officer.
units are established as state flight detachments. Due to the
limited number of Soldiers, SDFs often reach beyond state borders to
accomplish the mission, which helps prepare for duties downrange.
“The partnerships between states greatly enhance completing our
operational mission back home,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer
5 David Bebich, C-12 RFC commander. “Since there are not enough
soldiers in an SFD to meet the operational role overseas, we came
together for this assignment. Prior to deploying, we were in
constant communication to coordinate our training for deployment.”
Coming from smaller detachments back home, these units often
rely on each other. Downrange they continue carrying on that work
“We have the greatest team here, with how we
put things together and how we work together,” said U.S. Army Sgt.
1st Class Chris Barnes, C-12 RFC aviation operations specialist.
“We’re all very detail oriented.”
Working as a team and being
detail-oriented is exceptionally important, especially when the team
is so small.
Six pilots and three enlisted Soldiers make up
the UC-35 RFC. Just like their C-12 RFC counterparts, they all carry
on multiple additional duties to keep daily operations going.
“A lot of us have additional duties. Besides being a pilot, you
might be the safety and/or the assistant operations officer,” said
Dohse. “We fill in where needed to make ensure the mission gets
Each flight requires significant planning and
coordination, from working with receiving airfields and obtaining
proper clearances to ensuring cargo doesn’t exceed allowable weight.
Accomplishing all these tasks while providing quick transport at
flexible hours for senior leaders is all in a day’s work for the
“They’re the ones that make the decisions of troop
movements. We provide support for leadership so that they can get
eyes on all of their assets to see how they can distribute them as
needed within the theater.” said U.S. Army Capt. Jason Clarry, UC-35
RFC commander. “It’s important to keep the movement going so they
can be effective and efficient.”
Beyond informing senior
leaders for key decisions, the teams also work to deliver
high-priority cargo. Throughout the region, logistics can be
challenging, and so it’s not uncommon for C-12 and UC-35 flights to
deliver items like mission-critical parts and equipment to U.S. Army
and other coalition forces.
From providing senior leaders in-person
situational awareness to high priority cargo delivery, the C-12 RFC
and UC-35 RFC continue to tackle the mission, keeping our Joint and
Coalition forces ready for anything.
Our Valiant Troops |
Citizens Like Us
U.S. Army Gifts |
National Guard |