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C-27A Air Advisor Flight Training takes place at Patrick AFB

The C-27J Spartan is a twin turboprop aircraft with a short takeoff-and-landing capability that will provide access to airstrips otherwise unreachable by fixed-wing aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The 45th Space Wing supports Air Education and Training Command and its mission to help train and develop the Afghan national air force in flying C-27A aircraft.

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- Beginning in September, people will notice a new aircraft in the pattern over Patrick Air Force Base as the 45th Space Wing supports Air Education and Training Command
and its mission to help train and develop the Afghan national air force.

Earlier this year, 45 SW teamed up with the Department of State and AETC to host training for Airmen on the C-27A aircraft. These Airmen will then take their experience overseas where they will train pilots for the new Afghan air force.

"Our folks will teach the Afghans to fly and employ the C-27A with the full expectation they'll take over operations when we return from Afghanistan," said Curt Johnson, AETC Air Advisor

For AETC, training like this generally doesn't present many problems; however, in this instance the command was faced with one glaring omission.

"We didn't have any C-27s," Johnson said.

The Air Force retired the C-27 in 1999, but the Department of State had a number of the aircraft in flyable storage - with no mission. Together the two organizations worked out a mission for the aircraft.

"When those pieces came together, they just needed a place for the training," said Lt. Col. Pat Youngson, 45th Operations Support Squadron Commander. "We had the facilities and we offered the space. Working with DoS and AETC, we worked together to stand up the training program."

The result of those efforts will allow Airmen to receive training to address the needs in Afghanistan and help the Afghans build their own air force with C-27s they purchased in Italy
through the U.S. Government.

"This is an exceptional mission for our Airmen, who get to fly something different, which is always interesting," said Maj. Rick Laney, Lead Instructor Pilot and C27 Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, Headquarters AETC and 19th Air Force. "Plus they'll help a nation build an air force. That's not something you get to do every day."