Published Mon, Apr 16, 2012 10:25 am Dateline
Once again, some of our citizen soldiers have been killed in the line of duty.
It happened April 4th in Afghanistan. Three members of the Ohio National Guard died in an attack by a suicide bomber.
It's another reminder that our country is at war in a foreign land and that our neighbors, like Captain Todd O'Brien and Major Kevin Wuebker, are there doing their duty.
O'Brien and Webker are pilots with a guard unit in Mansfield that had been deployed to Afghanistan. The unit returned to the U.S. in November.
On this particular flight, the plane, a C-27J, is filled with reporters for a media event. If this were a real mission, the payload would more likely be stuff rather than people.
O'Brien and Wuebker said their aircraft hauls special operation troops and blood needed for soldiers on the front line. They say they also haul aircraft parts and other supplies that the Army requires.
"Whatever the army needs right away that's very important to them, we'll go ahead and move it for them," said Wuebker. It can change within hours. If they need something move that is a higher priority, if we can haul it, we'll move it for them."
They said it's usually a smaller payload of five to seven thousand pounds, but the plane can haul up to 10,000 pounds if needed.
"If we need to cross the pond, we'll take more fuel so we won't haul as much cargo and stuff. So, it all varies on our mission," said O'Brien.
The C-27 is flown by the Ohio National Guard's 179th Airlift Wing, which used to have C-130s, a larger cargo aircraft, until a switch last year.
"It's special for us because it's one of the latest and greatest planes out there," said Wuebker.
He said it's a much more cost effective aircraft than the 130, and their Army mission is quite different their days on the Air Force's C-130.
"We really got to know the individual players for the army, because we move parts for them every other day. We could really built some good relationships with the Army people that we supported there in Afghanistan. It's just a great working relationship between us and the army," said O'Brien.
The soldiers that were killed were victims of a suicide bomber attack.
At least 13 people died.
The soldiers were working with the Afghan National Army to transport radios.
At least four more members of the same Ohio unit were injured.